BONYĀD-E ŠĀH-NĀMA-YE FERDOWSĪ, a research institute founded in 1350 Š./1971 and attached to the former Ministry of Culture and Art of Iran, with M. Mīnovī as its first director. Its purpose, as described in its constitution, was to prepare a new critical edition of the Šāh-nāma and to study it from literary, historical, social, linguistic, and artistic points of view. The Bonyād’s board of trustees was composed of Mīnovī, P. Ḵānlarī, Y. Mahdawī, S. Ḥ. Naṣr, ʿA. Zaryāb, M.-A. Rīāḥī and M. Forūḡ and was chaired by the Minister of Culture and Art. There was also a consulting board, consisting of Mīnovī, Zaryāb, J. Šahīdī, A. Tafażżolī, and ʿA. Rawāqī, whose duty it was to give final approval to the texts prepared by the researchers of the Bonyād.

In order to prepare the edition of the Šāh-nāma, several researchers were employed to collaborate with Mīnovī, and attempts were made to collect microfilms of the most important manuscripts of the text. As the editing process proved to be a long one, the Bonyād decided to prepare and publish the epic in parts. The first published section was Dāstān-e Rostam o Sohrāb, edited with an introduction by Mīnovī. It appeared in Tehran in 1352 Š./1973 and included a critical appara­tus and notes. The second was Dāstān-e Forūd, edited by M. Rowšan, Tehran, 1354 Š./1975, published without textual variants. The third was Dāstān-e Sīāvaš, edited by Mīnovī in collaboration with M. Moḵtārī but published in 1363 Š./1984, after Mīnovī’s death, with an introduction by M. Ḡarīb. Each of the three parts was published by a different publisher.

Among other activities of the Bonyād was the engagement of two artists, J. Żīaʾpūr and B. Golzārī, to prepare scenes from the Šāh-nāma. About twenty of their paintings, based directly on the text, rather than on earlier illustrations, were exhibited in Mašhad in 1356 Š./1977; some of them were published in the pamphlet issued as a guide to the exhibition.

In 1351 Š./1973 Sīmorḡ, a periodical devoted to research on the Šāh-nāma, was founded; five issues (1351-57 Š./1973-78) were published.

Mīnovī died in 1355 Š./1977; his personal library of more than 16,000 books, including about 150 manuscripts, was left to the Bonyād. Rīāḥī was appointed to succeed him as director of the Bonyād. He arranged a national colloquium on the Šāh-nāma, which was held in Bandar-e ʿAbbās (Ābān, 1356 Š./October, 1977) and at which a number of papers were presented. Twenty of them were published in a volume entitled Šāh-nāma-šenāsī (vol. 1, Tehran, 1357 Š./1978). After the revolution of 1357 Š./1978-79 the Bonyād was dissolved and its personnel absorbed by a new organization, Moʾassasa-ye Moṭālaʿāt o Taḥqīqāt-e Farhangī (Cultural studies and research institute).



Apart from the introductions by Mīnovī and Ḡarīb mentioned above, see M. Ḡaravī, Soḵan-ī kūtāh dar bāra-ye Bonyād-e Šāh-nāma-ye Ferdowsī, Tehran, n.d., and the English introduction by E. Yarshater to the critical edition of the Šāh-nāma by Dj. Khaleghi-Motlagh, vol. 1, New York, 1988, p. ix.

(Aḥmad Tafażżolī)

Originally Published: December 15, 1989

Last Updated: December 15, 1989

This article is available in print.
Vol. IV, Fasc. 4, p. 361