Review of Parsi Zoroastrians: From Persia to Akbar’s Court
This exhibit is a journey through Zoroastrian history from its origins to present day. Dr. Shernaz Cama and Vanshika Singh, the site creators, put a great deal of thought into its content and design. The white text and black background presents material in a polished, easy to read manner. The contrasts of bright colors against the black along with the unique topic are what attracted me to it.
The main aspect I love about this display is how it engages multiple senses keeping the viewer curious to learn more. From a visual standpoint, the featured stained glass window is stunning. All of the images selected support the informative, yet succinct narrative. The photographs are a mix of people, artwork, historical sites, and items that link past and present very effectively. Sound clips and videos further immerse one into the Zoroastrian world. The folk song and prayers performed by a variety of people bond the subject and audience through the timeless language of music.
I am a proponent of needing to share history in a relatable fashion. This prevents it from becoming boring or a distant thing that happened long ago. The careful construction of the collection content does a great job of connecting with the broad Internet audience invited to view it. While educating on the unique practices and story of Zoroastrians, cultural bridges are built through things like oral traditions of sharing origins and myths, angels, celebrations, and man’s endless spiritual struggle with good and evil. A postage stamp featuring the Cyrus Cylinder, an ancient bill of rights, is an ingenious artifact used to show how certain ideas are universal and eternal. The selection of pieces including fire, a recognizable emblem for many faiths, joins the lesser-known religion with more mainstream ones. Lore and etiological myths are artfully intertwined through the narrative. These are just a few examples that really stood out to me as successful ways to help people gain a greater understanding of Zoroastrianism based on personal experiences and knowledge possessed before exploring the site.
Overall, this exhibit provides an educational and entertaining way to learn the story of a religion not frequently highlighted in Western curricula.