The Iranian cultural attaché in the Armenian capital of Yerevan said that Iran is seeking closer cooperation with the country on the restoration of Persian manuscripts, Tehran Times reports.
Hossein Tabatabai made the remarks in a recent visit to the Matenadaran, a museum and repository of manuscripts in Yerevan, Iran’s Islamic Culture and Relations Organization (ICRO) announced on Saturday.
Ara Philipossian, an Iranian-Armenian professor of chemical engineering at the University of Arizona, who is scheduled to finance an immense project, which includes the restoration of Persian manuscripts at the Matenadaran, accompanied Tabatabai.
They also met Matenadaran director Vahan Ter-Ghevondyan and the museum’s head of the Department of International Relations, Vardi Keshishian.
“The Matenadaran is a major cultural and scientific center in Armenia that preserves a unique treasure trove of manuscripts in Transcaucasia,” Tabatabai said at the meeting.
“Due to the Iranian and Islamic manuscripts preserved at the Matenadaran, it is like a window on the mysterious world of Iranian art and culture, which can quench any scholar’s thirst for knowledge on manuscript issues,” he added.
The Matenadaran has recently asked Iran to organize a workshop to be given by an Iranian scholar at the museum on the restoration of manuscripts with lacquered covers.
Tabatabai said that the workshop will be held in the near future and noted, “This workshop can be a great step in the preservation of Iranian manuscripts in the museum and also help expand cultural relations between Iran and Armenia.”
Ter-Ghevondyan also expressed thanks to the Iranian Cultural Center in Yerevan over its close cooperation with the Matenadaran and said that the workshop will help improve the preservation of the Persian manuscripts in the museum.
He also announced plans to organize special exhibitions and sessions on Iranian objects being preserved at the museum and called on Tabatabai to visit the cultural programs.
The Matenadaran – Mesrop Mashtots Institute of Ancient Manuscripts – home to Islamic manuscripts now contains a total of 2715 volumes, 450 of which are in Persian.
The museum was established in 1959 on the basis of the nationalized collection of the Armenian Church, formerly held at Etchmiadzin.
Its collection has gradually risen since its establishment, mostly from individual donations. One of the most prominent landmarks of Yerevan, it is named after Mesrop Mashtots, the inventor of the Armenian alphabet, whose statue stands in front of the building.
The collection features a rare manuscript copy of Persian poet Abolqasem Ferdowsi’s epic masterpiece Shahnameh ordered by the Timurid prince Baysanghur ibn Shah Rukh ibn Timur.