Bust of Ferdowsi now graces University of Oxford

TEHRAN, May 9 (MNA) -- The bust of Ferdowsi was unveiled at the University of Oxford Friday on the occasion of the Shahnameh millennium.

Iran’s ambassador to London, Rasul Movahedian, cultural attaché Ali-Mohammad Helmi, the Warden of Wadham College, Sir Neil Chalmers, University Lecturer in Persian Literature Firuza Abdullaeva, Professor of Persian Studies and Fellow of Wadham College Edmund Herzig, and several other scholars attended the unveiling ceremony.


Ambassador Movahhedian made the opening speech and expressed hope that Ferdowsi’s ideals would act as a bridge on the way to increasing understanding among nations.


“Paying tribute to a master of Persian poetry is actually honoring the eternal figures which belong to all generations,” he remarked.


He regarded establishing the bust by the University of Oxford a great act in preserving the spiritual achievements of mankind and said that Shahnameh, as part of Persian literature, has played a great role in enriching world literature.


Cultural attaché Helmi was next who regarded the bust of Ferdowsi as a gift from the Iranian nation to Oxford University and said that no doubt, Ferdowsi was one of the most influential literary figures of Iran.


“The Iranian nation knows Ferdowsi as their great epic poet and now after 1000 years, they still recite his poetry,” he remarked. (By 2009, a millennium has past since the composing of Ferdowsi’s magnum opus Shahnameh.)


Sir Neil Chalmers was next to talk and said that Ferdowsi is a great poet known to all the world and his Shahnameh enjoys many different social, political, and cultural aspects and has played major role in the life of the Iranian people.


Scholars Firuza Abdullaeva and Edmund Herzig also praised Persian culture and literature, and expressed hopes that establishing the bust of Ferdowsi will boost academic and cultural relationships.


Set up at the Ferdowsi (Firdousi) Library of Wadham College, the statue was created by British-based Iranian sculptor Mehran Ghahari under the supervision of Wadham College officials and Iran’s cultural office in London.


Iranians celebrate May 15 as the national day of Ferdowsi (circa 935-1020), the Persian poet and author of the Shahnameh (The Epic of Kings).





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