Power of the Word V

The Emperor’s Gift: Circles of Knowledge

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The fifth edition of the project The Power of the Word culminates in an installation in the Islamic East Gallery that explores a curious graphic encyclopedia.

An unbound manuscript was recently discovered in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum storage comprising 88 loose pages. Full of tables and circular diagrams, it had never been studied. Recovering the history of the original manuscript became the focus of the fifth Power of the Word, a participatory curatorial project promoted by the Museum.

By bringing together an interdisciplinary team of philologists, scientists, designers, educators and university students, Muslims and non-Muslims, it was finally possible to decipher its secrets. This research revealed that the contents are a wonderous visualization of information about God, the Universe and Humanity. Entitled The Emperor’s Gift, it was compiled in 19th century Iran from diverse knowledge that crossed time and continents.


Guest Curators

Juan Acevedo and Inês Bénard da Costa – Universidade de Lisboa


Diana Pereira – Cultural Mediation Service, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum
Jessica Hallett – Senior Middle East Curator, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum


Alexandre Cortinhas, Filipa de Burgo, Nasrine Kara, Nuno Monge, Nurin Hassanali, Pedro Figueiredo, Rita Cortez Pinto, Rúben Pinheiro, Shahd Wadi, Shaheen Vindhani, Yeni Varela, Yeri Varela, Zohra Gabrani, Zohora Pirbhai.

Special thanks to Ana Claro, Ana Machado, and Šima Krtalić.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation reserves the right to collect and keep records of images, sounds and voice for the diffusion and preservation of the memory of its cultural and artistic activity. For further information, please contact us through the Information Request form.


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