NPR recently featured a story about the English translation of the epic Persian poem Shahnameh. It is widely regarded as a centerpiece of Persian culture.
Hamid Rahmanian, the man behind the project, lives in Brooklyn Heights.
Listen to the All Things Considered interview
NPR: “There’s four tragedies, there is three beautiful love stories, there is endless battles between nations — this is like … Game of Thrones,” Rahmanian says.
His 600-page book includes a fresh English translation of the text, framed by Rahmanian’s ornate recompositions of Persian miniature paintings — the kinds of small, detailed paintings that were collected by the wealthy in medieval times for private albums.
But this Shahnameh edition is like a monk’s gilt-edged tome for the digital age, with linked dynastic stories of fabled kings, queens, knights and magical beings. For Rahmanian, it was a labor of love.
“I spent over 10,000 hours in the course of three and a half years,” he says. “I literally locked myself in my studio. I detached from the society to make sure I finished this … The way I built this book, I didn’t draw anything from scratch.”
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