Exhibitions/ Bazm and Razm

Bazm and Razm: Feast and Fight in Persian Art

At The Met Fifth Avenue
February 17, 2015–May 31, 2015
Exhibitions are free with Museum admission.

Exhibition Overview

For centuries, Persian kingship was epitomized by two complementary pursuits: bazm (feast) and razm (fight). The ruler's success as both a reveler and hunter/warrior distinguished him as a worthy and legitimate sovereign. The pairing of bazm and razm as the ultimate royal activities is an ancient concept with roots in pre-Islamic Iran. It is a recurring theme in the Shahnama (or Book of Kings)—the Persian national epic—as well as other poetic and historic texts.

This exhibition features some three dozen works of art in various media, created between the fifteenth century and the present day. Works from the Museum's Department of Islamic Art that illustrate the linked nature of bazm and razm are displayed alongside corresponding works—primarily Persian—from the departments of Asian Art, Arms and Armor, and Musical Instruments. The exhibition charts the gradual shift in meaning and usage of this pairing as it emerged from a strictly royal, or princely, context and became more widespread.


The exhibition is made possible by The Hagop Kevorkian Fund.

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Details from two folios from the Shahnama of Shah Tahmasp. Iran, Safavid period, ca. 1525–30. Opaque watercolor, ink, gold, and silver on paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Arthur A. Houghton Jr., 1970 (1970.301.9 and 1970.301.15)