Brooklyn Heights Man Brings The ‘Heart Of Iran’ To Wider Audience

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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