Two More Weeks Left for PAAIA Sponsored Cyrus Cylinder Exhibition Tour in San Francisco

September 5, 2013, Washington, D.C. – The “Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning” exhibition will only be at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco for a little more than two weeks before it heads to the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa in Los Angeles for its last stop in its tour of the United States.

Whether or not you have already visited the exhibition, consider attending one of the following events at the Asian Art Museum to learn more.

(Event descriptions are provided by the Asian Art Museum.)


Cyrus Cylinder Daily
Exhibition Tours, and part of Cyrus Cylinder Tours
Daily except Mondays, 1:30—2 PM
Free with museum admission

Explore The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning and the art of West Asia with our expert docents.

Visitors must sign up in advance to participate in the free Cyrus Cylinder and Persian Traditions tour. Visitors must be present to sign up on the same day of their visit; no online or telephone reservations can be accepted. Space is limited to 10 people. Please sign up at the Information Desk.


The Cyrus Cylinder: Members
Exhibition Tours, For Members, and part of Cyrus Cylinder Tours
Every Saturday and Sunday, 11—11:30 AM
Free for members

Take advantage of your membership. Enjoy special docent-led tours of The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia and explore Persian traditions in art throughout the exhibition. This is a great opportunity to learn more about this iconic object as well as about ancient Persia. And if you are a new member, it’s a great chance to engage with the museum, meet other members and enjoy an intimate tour experience.

Members must sign up in advance to participate in the free Cyrus Cylinder and Persian Traditions tour. Members must be present to sign up on the same day of their visit; no online or telephone reservations can be accepted. Space is limited to 10 people. Please sign up at the Information Desk.

Please note this tour is not available on September 8th.


New Light on the Cyrus Cylinder
Talks & Lectures, and part of Society For Asian Art
September 8, 2013 2—3:30 PM
Free with museum admission

New discoveries related to the Cyrus Cylinder continue to be made more than 130 years after its discovery in the ruins of Babylon in 1879, shedding fresh light on the character and concerns of Cyrus. Prof Stronach who has worked on and studied this archaelogical site will throw fresh light on the gardens and monuments of Cyrus, as well as talk about the Oxus treasure, and the Gold Armlet in the exhibition, which will provide an opportunity to explore the rare quality of Achaemenid Persian jewelry from the 6th to 4th centuries BCE.

David Stronach is Professor Emeritus of Near East Studies at UC Berkeley. A renowned archaeologist specializing in the area of ancient Iran and Iraq, he is a leading expert on Pasargadae, the capital city of Cyrus.   

Save your seat by registering in advance.


Evenings, and part of Artists Drawing Club
September 12, 2013 6:30—9 PM
Free with museum admission

Artist Ala Ebtekar will work with a number of collaborators to present Cylindr.us, a night of events surrounding the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning. Cylindr.us is a project in seven movements, each exploring another facet of the exhibition. The night examines why, more than 2,500 years after the Cyrus Cylinder’s creation, the object remains so culturally significant, and how the legendary figure Cyrus the Great holds such strong influence on ideas about modern civilization. The project finds inspiration from the collaboration between the artist and Bay Area students. After a docent tour, students worked with Ebtekar to respond to the question, “if you were the Master of the Universe, thinking about your legacy, what message would you inscribe on a cylinder like Cyrus’s?” 

Informed by his collaborators, Ebtekar will transform Samsung Hall into the Gate to All Nations, a historic landmark in Persepolis (in present-day Iran), through a multi-channel, quadraphonic sound installation performed by electronic composer and musician Sote. At the core of this installation, Ebtekar will use the obsolete technology of phonograph cylinders (one of the earliest mediums to record and reproduce sound) with seven wax cylinders, each containing a unique recording. From cylinder to cylinder, from clay to wax, from cuneiform to the sound of the first recorded voice, Cylindr.us draws parallels between inscription and recording from two different eras, cultures and moments marked by innovation. Mining student responses, Cylindr.us explores connections between the legacy of this ancient object and the contemporary moment.

About The Artists Drawing Club

Each month, this new series invites a local contemporary artist to use the museum as a project platform— drawing inspiration from the institution to direct a unique experience for the visitor. The Artists Drawing Club provides a new lens to see the museum, its collection and the world around us through the perspectives of eight contemporary artists.


From Samarkand to San Francisco
Talks & Lectures
September 22, 2013 2-3:30 PM
Buy Tickets
Members $5; General $17

In a lively, illustrated presentation, Dr. Jennifer Rose, professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University, will provide an introduction to the Zoroastrian religion, one of the world’s oldest surviving belief systems. From its origins in Bronze Age Central Asia to its evolution across three powerful Iranian empires, and its expansion to India, Europe, and North America, Zoroastrianism has had a profound impact on surrounding cultures and religions.

Dr. Rose’s talk will explore these points of interaction by tracing the religion’s history in relation to artifacts on display in The Everlasting Flame: Zoroastrianism in History and Imagination, an upcoming exhibition at the School of Oriental and African Studies (London), as well as objects in the Cyrus Cylinder exhibition on view at the Asian Art Museum. Images from Dr. Rose’s recent travels in Iran and Central Asia will be included in her presentation, which will be followed by a Q&A. Participants will have the chance to view a rare artifact newly acquired by the Asian Art Museum—a silver Muktad bowl, used by Parsis (Zoroastrians from India) to hold flowers in memory of the departed during the last 10 days of the Zoroastrian year. 

Dr. Jennifer Rose, adjunct professor of Zoroastrian studies in the Department of Religion at Claremont Graduate University, holds an MA in religious studies from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, and a PhD in Ancient Iranian studies from Columbia University, New York.

She has published extensively, including two recent books—Zoroastrianism: An Introduction (I.B. Tauris) and Zoroastrianism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Continuum). As well as lecturing at universities, museums and Zoroastrian Association events in North America and Europe, Dr. Rose also leads tours to important archaeological, cultural and devotional sites in Iran and Central Asia. She serves on the advisory panel for The Everlasting Flame exhibition about Zoroastrianism, on view at London’s SOAS this fall.



The “Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning” 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 the 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.

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