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July 03, 2011

New: a Beate Petersen & Nasseredin Mirza Video

A slice of the history of Persia in the second half of the 18th century in a beautiful and greatly
Beate Petersen's video - a clever montage of animation and Nasser al-Din's
daguerrotypes, depicting the life and some deadly intrigues at the court of the Shah, where
women have had a huge influence. His mother and two favorites among his 84 women, in
particular, have determined the major political turning points of that time.

"In 1842, a Persian delegation visited Queen Victoria,
in England.
When they returned home, they brought
with them a Daguerrotype photographic camera, a gift
from the queen to the 11 year-old heir to the Persian
throne, Nasseredin Mirza.
The young heir fell in love
with the magical contraption.
In the following decades, he documented his life,
revealing to the public eye what the public eye was
never supposed to see..."

ناصرالدین شاه و 84 زن او is the result of a brilliant combination:
photographic documentation of Nasser al-Din through
Beate Petersen's magic looking glass
... with the added charm
of Milad
's soundtrack.

Beate Petersen © 2011 - "Nasser al-Din Shah & His 84 Wives"

A few women of the Shah's harem - from private life straight to posterity.

From the 'shah's illness and the calico cat' episode - I couldn't resist to such a cat story.

"After Nasseredin Shah's death, the older and respected women remained in the harem.
The others were sent back to their relatives with yearly pensions or they moved to the holy
cities of Karbala and Najaf. Anis o-Dolch survived her husband by only a few months."

- The Diary of H.M. the Shah of Persia.
- Abbas Amanat, 'Pivot of the Universe, Nasir al-Din Shah and the Iranian Monarchy, 1831-1896'.
- Taj al-Saltanah, 'Crowning Anguish, Memoirs of a Persian Princess'.
Afsaneh Najmabadi, 'Women with mustaches and Men without beards'.
- Nikki R. Keddif, 'Qajar, Iran and the Rise of Reza Khan'.
- Lois Beck, editor, 'Women in Iran from 1800 to the Islamic Republic'.

Thanks to TehranBureau/FrontLine for pointing out
this video as well as
for suggesting further reading
through the
of the Encyclopædia Iranica:
- Harem: "Women played an important role in the life
of the Qajar monarchs. Fatḥ-'Ali Shah and Nāṣer-al-Din
Shah, in particular, kept a large harem", etc.

- Nasser al-Din Shah is also depicted in the movie
Nassereddin Shah, Actor-e Cinema (Once
Upon a Time, Cinema) 1992, written and directed by
Mohsen Makhmalbaf.
- He is the main character of the short story De koning, 2002, the novel De koning, 2011 and
by the Persian–Dutch writer
Kader Abdolah. [Wikipedia].

VIDEO slideshow [

- Nāṣer al-Dīn Shāh on Encyclopædia Britannica.

- QAJAR, pictory...

Somptuous and unconventional, this 1896 painting of the Shāh by the artist Kamal Al-Molk,
Mohammad Gaffari
shows Nasser al-Din
lost in a huge Hall of Mirrors [which is also the
painting title]. You can read Houman Harouni's post on TehranBureau.

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