‘Sofreh’ is Persian for ‘spread’ – referring to the colorful arrangements of flowers, condiments and objects of spiritual or cultural importance that are displayed at Persian ceremonies. As the title promises, this book is a visual feast. Flush with lavish historical illustrations and contemporary photography, it documents Persian marriage and New Year celebrations in rich detail. Sofreh pays homage to ancient traditions, discussing the symbiosis of symbolism and culture. Despite their ancestral roots, the featured ceremonies are infused with life and creativity. Modern fabrics are welcomed alongside refined antique textiles, creative floral designs, unconventional pieces of furniture, and unexpected objects. References to Persian poetry, literature, art and folklore stimulate the imagination, and the text is illuminated with exquisitely detailed extracts from old manuscripts, antique woven textiles and embroideries. Each volume centers around a series of original and at times highly elaborate sofreh creations. Together they comprise an extensive project, involving research into Persian ceremonies and sofreh history by an eminent scholar, and the design and creation of stunning compositions.
Book One is about the Persian New Year (Nowruz), which is celebrated on the first day of Spring. Book Two explores Persian marriage and wedding customs, and the elaborate settings for marriage ceremonies (Aqd). These two lavishly illustrated volumes which make an enduring gift are devoted to showcasing sofreh compositions in all of their glory. Never before have the splendor and beauty of the sofreh been presented in such an intricate and novel fashion.