Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Palace of Iran at the Expo 1935 Brussels

The Palace of Iran stood in a charming corner of the Expo, in the center of the Dahlias Garden, near the International Hall, and the pavilions of Palestine and Egypt, completing with them a synthesis of the egendary and modern Orient at the same time. This building was inspired by one of the most famous monuments of antiquity: the palace of Darius at Persepolis. At the top of a broad porch, columns bore a sober peristyle, decorated with winged lions with human faces. M. Frankignoul, the architect in charge of the construction of this palace, studied the plans in our museums; his collaborator was M. Rene Burgraeve.

From the entrance one was seized by an atmosphere of delicate art and luxury; on the walls and on the floor, carpets, replicas of Persian rugs the most aptly famous. Among them, a copy of the painting "Hunting", one of the oriental wonders of the Louvre Museum. Visitors admired the delicacy, the fade, the velvety texture of these fabrics of astonishing finesse; one, pure silk, was the marvel of this section.
The Department of Industry, in recent years, has multiplied in Iran the professional schools where the art of reproducing the old Persian rugs is taught.

In this pavilion were also fine silverware from Shiraz and Isfahan: vases, bowls, knick-knacks, hand-carved with meticulous art; the same qualities distinguished the brass repulsed, very numerous and very beautiful. The Iranian artisans have taken over the traditions of the old oriental engravers. Huge copper platters evoked the great Persian poets, the ancient kings of Iran; then, they were hunting scenes, reproductions of famous paintings, tapestries. Artists had painted flowers, animals, hieratic faces on light candelabra and wooden candlesticks. Others had combined painting and gilding to create splendid covers of books or albums, bindings of the most refined taste. Still others, working bone and ivory with a perfection inherited from long generations of artists, had made belts, bracelets, objects illustrated with miniatures.

The silks and cottons printed, the hangings, the curtains, the embroideries of Isfahan and Recht, the carpets, the style of the pavilion, the clear decoration of the walls, all contributed to give to the Persian section, the aspect of a palace of the Thousand and One Nights. But, on the other hand, one could observe, by studying with the attention that each of them deserved, the compartments occupied by the main industries of Iran today: dried fruits, Astrakhan wool, cotton , skins, etc., that this very old country is moving resolutely on the path of progress.

Such was the opinion of all the visitors, and that of King Leopold III, who in the last days of July 1935 stopped for a long time at the Pavilion of Persia.

The pavilion was inaugurated on the 10th of July, 1935, by M. Gaffary, Minister of Persia at Brussels, and M. Ismailzade, Commissioner-General, who received under the peristyle M. Van Isacker, Minister of Economic Affairs, Count van der Burch, Messrs. Ad. Max and Ch. Fonck. A large number of Iranian and Belgian personalities attended the ceremony.

Mr. Ismailzade insisted on the will of progress of modern Persia. He showed how much the Belgo-Persian relations had multiplied and recalled that the reorganization of customs and posts in Iran was the work of Belgian officials.

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