Although it has been collecting Persian art since the 1880’s it is only now that a major survey of its collection is being held at the Powerhouse Museum.

Between pre World War 1 there was a major influx of Iranian immigrants, many of whom donated their precious artefacts to the then Museum Of  Applied Arts and Sciences. 

Curated by Pedram Khosronejad, IRANZAMAN (Land of the Persians) focuses on the Qajar era (1789-1925) and encompasses material culture and techniques from hand-woven crafts, carpets and rugs, textiles, embroidery and foundry to arms, armour, glass and ceramics.

Due to the ancient metaphoric meaning of the number 7 in Persian culture, the exhibition examines how these prized objects were used in Persian society, focusing on seven themes: Joy and Happiness, Purification  and Cleansing, Spirituality and Devotion, Ritual and Performance, Patronage and Craftsmanship and Nature and Design. 

Other local highlights of the exhibition include Persian influenced wallpaper prints by renowned artist and textile designer Florence Broadhurst, especially as she saw it first hand due to her visit to Iran.

The other infusion of Persian culture into Australian society came with the opening of Jewish Iranian migrant Jacques (Jack) Cadry’s first Persian rug emporium in Edgecliff which is still run by his sons. Australia had never seen the intricacy and beauty of quality Persian rugs, ensuring the continued success of this Persian carpet dynasty. 

The exhibition runs at the Powerhouse until the 8th August, 2021

Featured image : Curator Pedram Khosronejad & Wine Jar. All pics by Ben Apfelbaum.