Journey of “Mysterious Tales of Tabriz”

Baku, December 3, AZERTAC

For centuries, Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage has adequately represented this nation’s great past, unique culture, and its origins. BP has been closely involved with Azerbaijan’s rich cultural legacy since the early days of its presence here. To date, we have initiated and implemented numerous successful projects in support of the development of Azerbaijan’s culture, as well as promotion of its amazing cultural legacy.

In partnership with the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan, BP has realized quite a few projects which have left a footprint on the new history of Azerbaijan. We believe that by supporting these initiatives we are contributing to the increasing local and international recognition of Azerbaijan’s cultural heritage.

The publication of the book “Mysterious Tales of Tabriz”, which traces the fundamental stages in the evolution of medieval Azerbaijani miniature painting and its impact on other schools, is a great example of this cooperation in communicating Azerbaijan’s legacy to the world. This project has been realized in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, BP Azerbaijan, “PASHA Life İnsurance” and IRS Publishing House. The author of the book, Prof. Jamila Hasanzade cites facts and opinions of leading western and Oriental scholars researching the classical period of Azerbaijan miniature painting from its first steps in the 13th century to its heyday during Safavid period in the 16th century.

The rich legacy of Tabriz miniatures, which dates back to the Middle Ages, is exhibited in many museums and private collections around the world. The art of miniatures is one of the brightest phenomena in the world of figurative art, which was widely spread in this region in the Middle Ages. Azerbaijani miniaturists’ contribution to this amazingly beautiful art is immeasurable. It is generally recognized that the legacy left behind by Tabriz masters is colossal and their contribution to world culture is tremendous. Today, the works of Azerbaijani miniature artists are available in just a handful of museums, the most important of which include the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Freer Gallery in Washington, the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, the Dublin Chester Beatty Library, the Tehran Gulistan Palace, the British Museum and the British library, the Library of the University of Edinburgh, the Russian National Library, as well as the Louvre Museum and the National Library in Paris. A lot of the precious miniatures of Tabriz masters remain inaccessible to researchers as they are stored in private collections that are closed to the public and scientists.

The launch of the “Mysterious Tales of Tabriz” was one of the biggest cultural events in Azerbaijan’s calendar in 2014, fostering a rebirth of the rich legacy of national culture. As part of its relationship-building efforts, BP has since presented the “Mysterious Tales of Tabriz” to its key contacts in the governments, parliaments, SOCAR, partners, foreign embassies, international institutions.

The next journey of this book relates to the activities of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center. BP has donated the “Mysterious Tales of Tabriz” to this International Center to support its mission of building a dialogue and understanding between cultures and peoples. Since its establishment in 2012, a total of 3,000 attendees representing 87 countries have participated in conferences, forums, workshops and meetings, making the Nizami Ganjavi International Center a forum for global leaders to share their valuable experience and knowledge. More than 100 incumbent and former heads of state and government have participated in its activities.

On 27-28 November 2019, the 19th High-Level Meeting organized by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center in partnership with the Robert K. Kennedy Human Rights Foundation and the Italian Senate took place in Rome. The topic of this meeting was “Free from Violence: Peace, Security and Conflict Prevention in the 2030 Development Agenda”.

On 27 November, as part of this international event, Pope Francis met with representatives of the Nizami Ganjavi International Center and expressed his gratitude for its “commitment to address the principal challenges of our day in order to promote peace through dialogue and mutual respect”, drawing inspiration from the 12th century great poet the Center is named after. He encouraged the Center to take further effort “in the conviction that a culture of dialogue is the path, mutual cooperation is the code of conduct and reciprocal understanding is the method to grow in fraternity among persons and peoples”.

As a token for this meeting, the Nizami Ganjavi Center presented the Holy Father the “Mysterious Tales of Tabriz”, the stories of which can serve as a model for building functional and inclusive societies.

On 29 November, another high-level meeting took place in the Italian Senate, where President of Italy Sergio Mattarella received a delegation comprising participants in the 19th High-Level meeting. During this meeting, the book “Mysterious Tales of Tabriz” was presented to President Sergio Mattarella as a precious gift.

As BP’s project manager supporting this initiative, I am so proud that we supported the publication of the “Mysterious Tales of Tabriz”, enhancing public awareness of Azerbaijan’s ancient craft of miniature writing legacy worldwide.

Azerbaijan certainly ranks at the top of the world’s most tolerant societies and today this small country with rich cultural heritage is viewed as a model for ethnic and religious tolerance. It is a multi-ethnic state with various and unique ethnic groups within its boundaries. Respect and tolerance for national minorities has played a vital role in the development of this country from old times to modern days. Azerbaijan was able to protect itself from the triggers of religious extremism and successfully promotes the values of multiculturalism.

Today, Azerbaijan has made tremendous strides in building a prosperous nation and its rich cultural heritage is viewed as a model for ethnic and religious tolerance, successfully promoting the values of multiculturalism. The cultural heritage of Azerbaijan now enriches the honor list of UNESCO’s world masterpieces. I get a great sense of pride for being a part of these cultural heritage initiatives in Azerbaijan which support our common heritage and identity and have resulted in positive changes in the society and worldwide recognition.

Guivami Rahimli

PhD, Professor at Baku State University

Senior Government Affairs Advisor for

BP Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey Region

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