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CEUS Colloquium Mohammad Gharipour “Pavilions in Persian Gardens: Context, Design, and Function”

On March 9th, the IAUNRC was privileged to have Dr. Mohammad Gharipour from Morgan State University give a talk on “Pavilions in Persian Gardens: Context, Design, and Function” as a part of the Spring 2015 CEUS Colloquium Series. Trained as an architect, Dr. Gharipour’s approach to the history of architecture is unique and pulls from multiple sources of analysis, including art and literature. In this talk, he discussed the role that structures such as and balconies played in Persian gardens as sites of intersection between what is built or natural and what is open (public) or enclosed (private). Their symbolic and social significance can be culled through stories of, for example, romantic trysts or political meetings.


Dr. Gharipour’s talk also touched on themes of cross-cultural interactions. The char bagh (four garden) layout of many Persian gardens could be seen in plans of earlier Mesopotamian gardens. Even in art, Renaissance stylizations and uses of perspective could be seen in Persian paintings. And much like Renaissance paintings, the Persian paintings presented were rife with metaphorical meaning that illuminated universal themes and symbols. In one of his concluding slides, for example, Dr. Gharipour presented a picture from the Shahnameh depicting a tryst between two lovers, Zal and Rudabah, in a garden. His ensuing deconstruction of their location in a garden kiosk as relating to their status, gender, and romance highlighted his truly multifaceted approach to understanding the complex symbolic and social functions of structures in Persian gardens.