Iranzamin (Land of the Persians) was the first survey exhibition of Persian arts and crafts acquired by the Powerhouse Museum since its founding in 1880. It explores the stories behind rarely seen artefacts from the middle of the 19th century to now, shedding light on the diverse social and cultural history of Persia – today’s Iran – and its people.
The exhibition examines how objects inspired by traditional arts and crafts were used in Persian society, focusing on seven themes: Joy and Happiness; Purification and Cleansing; Spirituality and Devotion; Poetry and Calligraphy; Rituals and Performance; Patronage and Craftsmanship; Nature and Design. Iranzamin encompasses a diversity of materials and techniques, including hand-woven crafts, carpets and rugs; arms and armour; glass, ceramics and tiles; textiles, embroidery and foundry.
Iranzamin examines how the influence of Persia, situated between two major trade routes – the Silk Road and the Indian Ocean – spread out into the world. Special attention is paid to the influence of Persian culture on non-Iranian craftsmen and artists such as Australian painter and textile designer Florence Broadhurst. This includes original Broadhurst wallpaper prints titled Persian Phoenix (Simorgh), Persian Birds, and Persian Pomegranate Flowers.