Love and Devotion: Persian Cultural Crossroads

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, 12–14 April 2012

A conference presented by The State Library of Victoria in partnership with Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

A royal picnic (detail), from ʿAttar, Intikhab-i Hadiqa, c 1575 Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS. Canonici Or. 122, fol. 4v

This cross-disciplinary conference will explore cultural convergences in literature, art and architecture, history and philosophy from the time of Firdausi in the early 11th century to the present day, within the various Persian empires, Ottoman Turkey, Mughal India and Europe.

The two-day conference coincides with a major exhibition at the State Library of Victoria, Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond. The conference is presented by the State Library of Victoria in partnership with the Australian National University and with support from The Asian Arts Society of Australia.

Distinguished international guests and Australian specialists will explore themes including Persian ideals of love and devotion as expressed through the arts, intersections with the west, and the contemporary legacy.

The conference keynote speakers are:

  • Professor Charles Melville, University of Cambridge
  • Dr Stefano Carboni, Art Gallery of Western Australia
  • Dr Zahra Taheri, Australian National University
  • Dr Eleanor Sims, independent scholar, London
  • Dr Mammad Aidani, University of Melbourne

Register your interest: To request a registration brochure (available October 2011), please contact the State Library of Victoria: phone +61 (0)3 8664 7548, or email

About the exhibition Love and Devotion: From Persia and Beyond

This landmark exhibition at the State Library of Victoria (9 March–1 July 2012) will feature more than 60 rare 13th- to 18th-century Persian, Mughal Indian and Ottoman Turkish illustrated manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, as well as editions of European literature, travel books and maps from the collections of the State Library of Victoria.

It is co-curated by Susan Scollay, an art historian who specialises in the art and culture of the Islamic world, and Clare Williamson, the Library’s Exhibitions Curator and co-author of The World of the Book.

A lavishly illustrated publication, with contributions by scholars from around the world, will be available for purchase, and the exhibition will be complemented by a diverse program of events and activities.

For more information, visit