Persia’s Dynastic Past: Golestan Palace, the Malek Collection and the National Museum of Iran

As an art historian, I spent much of my time in Iran visiting architectural monuments and museums. Below are photos from the Malek Museum, the National Museum of Iran and Golestan Palace.

The Malik Museum, founded by Haj Hossein Aqa Malek,  is the first private museum in Iran.  The collection is best known for its manuscripts, but includes paintings, ceramics, lacquerware, textiles and more.  There is a gorgeous well-equipped and well-lit library and education center for children. When I visited there was a small, but beautifully curated show on medieval cartography.

The National Museum of Iran is housed in two separate buildings dedicated to Pre-Islamic and Islamic art. I spent a great deal of time in both, but I was especially impressed with the renovations and display in the Islamic wing. The Seljuk collection was phenomenal.

Golestan Palace was the Royal Qajar residence in Tehran (a Persian Dynasty reigning from 1785 to 1925). The complex is constructed around a sprawling garden filled with fountains. Most of the buildings have a set of rooms that have been turned into a museum, either displaying period interiors or an art collection.

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An assortment of woven pen case covers at the Mailk Museum
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a beautifully curated exhibition of ancient cartography of Iran at the Mailk Museum
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another view of the cartography exhibition at the Mailk Museum
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a detail of a globe created for the cartography exhibition at the Malik Museum
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the education center of the Malik Museum
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detail of an Achaemenid rhyton found at Persepolis in the National Museum of Iran
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the central courtyard of the Islamic Art building of the National Museum of Iran
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moving through the Seljuk galleries at the National Museum of Iran
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A Seljuk period lustreware figurine at the National Museum of Iran
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listening to a curator of Islamic art at the National Museum of Iran
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a detail of a stunning royal Qajar silk kaftan
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A woman’s jacket of the Qajar period. The cut is extraordinarily elegant with a narrow waist, fitted shoulders and sleeves that extend beyond the finger tips. There are slits for ventilation under the arms. I was actually able to find one of these in Isfahan to add to my textile collection!
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a Sasanian silver hunting plate as a modern monument
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approaching the marble throne at Golestan palace
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the marble throne, or Takht e Marmar, at Golestan
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the translucence of the marble throne
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intricate tiles of wood and glass at Golestan
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a tiny painted marble detail of the throne room at Golestan
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view into the gardens from the throne at Golestan
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facade of the Khalvat e Karim Khani at Golestan
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hallway to the mirror hall at Golestan (photos were not allowed, but I snuck this one and the next)
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intricate mirror tilework at Golestan
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wood and glass contrast at the Golestan palace
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tiled archways leading to the Emarat e Badgir at Golestan
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view of the gardens at Golestan
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a detail of the exterior tilework of the archways
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exterior of the Shams ol Emareh at Golestan
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interior of the Shams ol Emareh at Golestan
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interior of the Shams ol Emareh at Golestan
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interior of the Shams ol Emareh at Golestan
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