The United States returned 30 stolen works of art and antiquities to Cambodia that had been looted from the Southeast Asian nation, including from an ancient Khmer city, and illegally trafficked around the world for decades.
The recording of historical events was an important discipline in Iranian intellectual life, giving rise to works that still frame our understanding of the medieval and modern periods. An example is the Habib al-Siyar (Friend of Moral Deeds) of Khwandamir, a general history completed in 524. The work is an important source for the author’s own time, but his approach was clearly swayed by the political agenda of his patron, Shah Ismaeil (1501-1524 CE), the first ruler of the Safavid Dynasty. Khwandamir’s presentation of the distant past incorporates epic tales drawn from the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, for example, allowing him to graft the new dynasty onto the ancient Iranian tradition of kingship.
We all may be familiar with the stereotypical ‘desperate artist’, who will go to any lengths necessary just to make something out of an unfinished painting. As Francis Bacon argued, “feelings of desperation and unhappiness” will, in the end, serve the struggling artist better, since they “stretch [their] whole sensibility.”