From The New York Times Diner’s Journal:
From a dark corner in the new galleries for Islamic art at the Louvre, in Paris, a deep male voice beckons. It is a recording of some of the most famous verses of poetry in Persian, from the Shahnameh, the Book of Kings, written in the 10th century by Abolghasem Ferdowsi, Iran’s greatest epic poet.
The subject is neither art nor religion nor politics.
“Now is the time to drink fine wine,
As the perfume of musk wafts from the heights,
The air is full of cries and the earth trembles,
Happy is he made joyful by drinking . . . .”
The poem is a reminder that the Louvre’s recently unveiled collection of 1,200 years of Islamic artworks and artifacts, a $125 million project, is also a celebration of food and drink.