**SOLD OUT** The Cyrus Cylinder: Uses, Misuses, and Contemporary Iran


One of the most iconic objects from the ancient world, the Cyrus Cylinder is widely considered a symbol of multiculturalism, tolerance, and human rights. Cyrus the Great, founder of the expansive Persian Achaemenid dynasty, had the Cylinder created to formally mark the establishment of Persian rule over Babylon in 539 BCE.

The Cylinder gained new prominence in the late 1960s when the Shah of Iran celebrated it as the world’s first charter of human rights, even as his regime was being accused of human rights abuses. Though the Cylinder symbolizes the principles of human understanding, tolerance, courage, compassion, and liberty to many around the world, others have interpreted it in widely divergent ways.

This year, the Cylinder began its first tour of the United States, and it will be on view at the Asian Art Museum along with a number of related objects from ancient Persia. Asia Society Northern California is pleased to partner with the Asian Art Museum on the exhibition’s opening day of August 9 to host a panel discussion on the Cylinder’s historical context, its changing symbolism and representations, and its contemporary relevance in Iran and beyond. The exhibition will be open that day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Jay Xu (moderator), Director, Asian Art Museum

John Curtis, Keeper of the Middle East Collections, The British Museum

Reza Zarghamee, Author of Discovering Cyrus: The Persian Conqueror Astride the Ancient World (forthcoming 2013)

Trita Parsi, President, National Iranian American Council

Mitra Ara, Professor and Founding Director, Persian Studies Department, San Francisco State University

Promotional Co-Sponsors: UC Berkeley Department of Near Eastern Studies and the San Francisco State University Persian Studies Program

Program Agenda:

2:30-3:00 pm: Registration
3:00-4:45 pm: Discussion and Audience Q&A
4:45-5:30 pm: Reception and Exhibition Viewing
This exhibition was organized by the British Museum in partnership with the Iran Heritage Foundation and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities.
The exhibition at the Asian Art Museum is generously supported by Tina and Hamid Moghadam, Bita Daryabari and Dr. Reza Malek in collaboration with the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans.

Event Details

Fri 09 Aug 2013
3 - 4:45 p.m.
Asian Art Museum Samsung Room 200 Larkin Street San Francisco, CA
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ADVANCE TICKETING REQUIRED: $20 Asia Society/AAM members/students; $25 non-members
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