The current project partly grows out from and builds on an earlier project of the Institute, entitled Islamische Kunstobjekte in Wiener Sammlungen.  With the Viennese (and, as a whole, Austrian) material serving as a point of reference and backdrop for further reseaerch, the present project aims to broaden the geographical scope and investigate art and archaeological institutes  of Central and South-Eastern Europe with respect to past and present holdings of Iranian art. While Islamic art in general is discussed in the project, the focus has been set on Persian artworks, in order to keep the material within the field of Iranian studies. The primary objective is to locate, identify, catalogue and analyze the objects in the area of the former Kingdom of Hungary, for which a thorough understanding of the Austrian material is a prerequisite, due to the many overlaps in the collections and the tortuous history of a number of items.  In the longer term, the horizon is further broadened to include Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Bulgaria as well. The investigations show that Persian art was collected in the later Austro-Hungarian Empire and displayed specifically for the reinvention of Bosnian art. It is hoped that the series of publications that will emerge over the course of the research might enhance our understanding of the commercial, diplomatic and artistic contacts between these regions and Iran, while also creating a systematic framework for numerous hitherto unnoticed examples of Persian art.


  • Hungarian National Museum, Budapest
  • Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Oriental Collection
  • Museum of Ethnography, Budapest
  • Déri Museum, Debrecen
  • National Museum of Art of Romania, Bucharest
  • Regional Museum, Sarajevo

Folgeprojekt: Das Werden Persischer Kunst.

Sammlungen und Interpretationen von Kunst aus Iran und Zentralasien im spaeten 19. und fruehen 20. Jahrhundert

Sub-project: The Shaping of Persian Art. Collections and Interpretations of the Art of Iran and Central Asia in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries

This publication project brings together Iranian and Central Asian art experts from both museums and university spheres, intending to offer a novel insight into the art history of these regions. While the impact of the Persian style is undeniably reflected in many aspects of the art and architecture of Central Asia, this Perso-Central Asian connection is more likely to have been initiated by the movement of collecting and interpreting the art and material culture of the Iranian world during the late 19th and early 20th century. This defined the characteristics of how Iranian/Central Asian art should be viewed and displayed at museums and how these subjects should be researched in academia.Through the re-thinking of the process of establishing ‘Persian’ art in various scholarly circles, it is hoped that this volume provides a better understanding of the true nature of art traditions that developed in Iran and Central Asia throughout the ages. The project is coordinated and the volume edited by Yuka Kadoi (Art Institute of Chicago) and Iván Szántó. The participants represent institutions in Edinburgh, Munich, Vienna, Budapest, Warsaw, Bucharest, Doha, and Dushanbe.


Dr. MMag. Iván Szántó


  • Iván Szántó: Safavid Art and Hungary. The Esterházy Appliqué in Context (Piliscsaba: Avicenna, 2010)
  • Iván Szántó – Béla Kelényi: Artisans at the Crossroads. Persian Arts of the Qajar Period, 1796-1925. Catalogue. Budapest: Museum of Applied Arts, 2010.
  • Artisans at the Crossroads. Persian Arts of the Qajar Period, 1796-1925. Exhibition in the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, 28.01.2011–18.09.2011.