Ever since the appearance of the Šāh-nāma, Ferdowsī has been held in high esteem, and many poets have referred to him and his work, the best known being Saʿdī’s tribute in the Būstān to “Ferdowsī-ye pāk-zād,” quoting a line from him even though the verse itself has not been found in the Šāh-nāma . In recent times, beginning with the famous Ferdowsī celebrations of 1934, tributes in different forms have been paid to him by both government and private institutions. These include naming streets, squares, schools, libraries and foundations, and installing statues of him in different places. Among these are the following: A statue of Ferdowsī donated by Parsees of India was formerly in Ferdowsī square in Tehran but was removed to a new location in the campus of the University of Tehran at the front of the Faculty of Letters and Humanities. At its original location, a new statue of the poet by Abu’l-Ḥasan Ṣadīqī was placed in 1976. The city of Tehran presented the city of Rome with a statue of Ferdowsī by Ṣadīqī in 1966. It is in a small square also bearing the name of the poet (Pizzale Firdusi). In Tajikistan a statue of Ferdowsī was erected in a street bearing his name in 1992 (Plate V).

The poet’s name has been used in relation to many educational and academic institutions. Many schools in Persia and Tajikistan bear his name. The University in Mašhad, a lecture hall in the Faculty of Letters and Humanities of University of Tehran, and the National Library of Tajikistan in Dushanbe, are all named after him. The college library of Wadham College, Oxford, which contains a collection of Persian books and manuscripts, was also officially named the Ferdowsi Library in 1995. The Ministry of Arts and Culture (Wezārat-e farhang o honar) instituted an organization called the Šāh-nāmaFoundation (Bonyād-e Šāh-nāma) whose main brief was the preparation and edition of a critical edition of the Šāh-nāma. The organization was headed by the eminent scholar Mojtabā Minovī assisted by a number of scholars. A few sections of the book were published but the major task remained unfinished when the organization was disbanded after the 1979 Revolution. Minovī’s library, bequeathed to Bonyād-e Šāh-nāma, also contains a bust of Ferdowsī which was originally in the Ferdowsī library, attached to Ketāb-kāna-ye Mellī (The National Library). Recently Moḥammad Eslāmī Nadūšan has founded an organization the aim of which is to celebrate the poet and pay homage to his work. Following the already mentioned 1934 celebrations, there have been many conferences specifically devoted to Ferdowsī and his poetry in Persia and other parts of the world. The series of conferences at Ṭūs in the seventies, the international conference held in Tehran after the 1979 Revolution (1990), major conferences in other Persian cities like Isfahan and Bandar ʿAbbās, and other recent conferences in Cologne (1990), at Columbia University, New York (1997), and at Harvard University, supported by the Ilex Foundation (1999), are examples of this perennial interest in the poet and his work among readers and scholars worldwide.

For further details see Supplement.


Originally Published: December 15, 1999

Last Updated: January 26, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. IX, Fasc. 5, pp. 530-531