Tanavoli, Parviz

Shirin, Beloved of King, 1963

Image for Shirin, Beloved of King, 1963

Shirin, Beloved of King exemplifies how Tanavoli, lacking a significant modern Iranian sculptural tradition to build on, sought a different kind of lineage within Persian folklore. The title refers to the legend in which the stonecutter Farhad, driven by passion, carved mountains in honor of Shirin, fulfilling the challenge set forth by King Khosrow II of the Sassanid Empire, his rival for her love. Driven by passion, Farhad worked day and night. Alarmed by the carver’s steady progress, King Khosrow sent him a false message that Shirin had passed away. Heartbroken by the news, Farhad fell from the mountain to his death. As Tanavoli recounts, “I clung to Farhad and made him an ideal hero for myself. . . . To me he was no mere votary of love who carved an entire mountain for the love of Shirin; he was a sculptor par excellence.”

Medium Glazed ceramic and metal
Dimensions 59 1/2 x 14 x 14 in.
Credit Line Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection
Donor Gift of Abby Weed Grey
Object ID G1975.48


Collection Years: 1963