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The Seven Wise Princesses: A Medieval…

The Seven Wise Princesses: A Medieval Persian Epic

by Wafa' Tarnowska

Other authors: Nilesh Mistry (Illustrator)

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This book is not what I expected. Beautifully and lavishly illustrated, it is not a picture book for young children: the text is for adults and older children. The text is a prose retelling of a 12th century Persian poem, the Haft Paykar, by Nizami. It's core is seven wisdom tales related to Shah Bahram by visiting princesses from different countries. These should appeal to anyone who likes folk and fairy tales. Wafa' Tarnowska has also included notes at the end explaining some of the symbolism from the Sufi tradition, as well as a biography of the poet.

The illustrations by Nilesh Mistry are nicely detailed and inventive. I found more the more I studied them. The pages containing the tales are framed in features from the pavilion where it is told, and charmingly, the beginning of each tale is illustrated with a small portrait of the teller. The basic style is Persian, but there are also details and hints of the nations of the princesses.

A lovely book, but one that I fear may miss its audience by being assumed to be a children's book. ( )
  juglicerr | Mar 10, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tarnowska, Wafa'primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mistry, NileshIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Adapted from a 12th century Persian text by the poet Nizami, This is the story of King Bahram, who, guided by the planets, builds seven pavilions for seven wise and beautiful princesses. Each princess tells him a story of wisdom to guide his leadershp. [Library of Congress summary]
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A lonely king, inspired by seven mysterious portraits, invites seven lovely princesses to live with him; their stories entertain and educate him in the ways of a wise ruler.

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