Presented by Lisa Balabanlilar, associate professor of history, Rice University

With its origins in pre-Islamic Iran, the classical Persian garden would be seen by some as the prototype of the celestial garden. As landscapes of repose and delight, gardens were also closely linked to political prestige and power. Demonstrating control over land, finances, labor, and nature itself, the pleasure garden was a prerogative of kingship, an assertion of ruling legitimacy, as well as a display of aesthetic prowess.

Universally recognized as deeply meaningful spiritual and political landscapes, the Persian garden would become the most influential garden design in the Western world, spreading from Iran to Spain to India to Italy and Western Europe. The lecture explores the cultural and social life of the Persian garden to provide context for the exhibition Garden Paradise: The Magnificent Safavid Carpet from the Burrell Collection, Glasgow.

• $5 MFAH Members
• $10 Adult Nonmembers
Reserve your seat in advance! Get tickets below for this program, which takes place on the mezzanine level of the Beck Buliding.

► Plan ahead for your visit with parking information.

MFAH Learning and Interpretation programs receive generous funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services; MD Anderson Cancer Center; Sharon G. Dies; the Sterling-Turner Foundation; Houston Junior Woman's Club; Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo; the Kress Foundation; The Brown Foundation, Inc.; the Susan Vaughan Foundation; the CFP Foundation; the Cockrell Family Fund; the Joe Barnhart Foundation; the Carruth Foundation, Inc.; Silver Eagle Distributors, L.P.; Ralph H. and Ruth J. McCullough Foundation; Mrs. Denise D. Monteleone; W. A. and Madeline Smith Charitable Trust; Texas Commission on the Arts; Dr. Angela Apollo; the Center for Craft, Creativity & Design; Mr. and Mrs. Dan English III; Mrs. Nancy Glanville Jewell; Mary Lynn and Steve Marks; the Swergold Family Foundation; the Junior League of Houston, Inc.; Polly and Murry Bowden; Nancy and Jim Gordon; and Lubrizol Foundation. 

All Learning and Interpretation programs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, receive endowment funds provided by Louise Jarrett Moran Bequest; Caroline Wiess Law; the William Randolph Hearst Foundation; Cyvia and Melvyn Wolff; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Fondren Foundation; BMC Software, Inc.; the Wallace Foundation; the Neal Myers and Ken Black Children’s Art Fund; Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Ballard; Mr. and Mrs. Charles W. Tate; the Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation; Virginia and Ira Jackson; the Favrot Fund; Neiman Marcus Youth Arts Education; gifts in memory of John Wynne; and gifts in honor of Beth Schneider.