عنوان مقاله [English]
In Iran, discourse on cultural heritage politically started to burgeon during the 1930s by efforts of enlightened thinkers (roshanfekran) and Western Orientalists. By the rise of Reza Shah in 1925 and during the Pahlavi epoch (1925-1979), the Western archaeologists or architects were closely engaged in cultural heritage affairs, which effectively manipulated the concept of Iranian nationalism particularly through focusing on the pre-Islamic heritage. While, in a few publications the foreigners’ contribution and the activities of Western archeologists was studied under archaeological light, in this paper,for the first time, the fundamental role of Western Orientalists regarding conservation of architectural heritage will be scrutinised. Thorough applying interpretive-historical research method, and investigating the primary sources, this paper will survey about the role of Western men in built heritage affairs during the Pahlavi era, during the Twentieth Century Iran. To this end, the letters, books, speeches, and unpublished memoirs of either enlightened thinkers or influential members in charge of the National Heritage Society have been referred to, in this study, with careful consideration given to their conflicting viewpoint against the Qajar rulers. Some of these men were: Isa Sedigh (1945-1970s), Arthur Pope (1925-1970s), Andre Godard (1931-1960s) and Asghar Hekmat (1933-1955). Other primary sources benefiting this study include: government documents; legislative documents of the National Heritage Society (NHS); unpublished memos; diaries; archival materials; old newspapers and library sources. These materials have been collected from four major libraries and archives in Iran. These included the the Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization Document Centre in Tehran; the Library and Archive Centre of the University of Tehran; Malek National Library and Museum Institution in Tehran; National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Tehran; and Organization of Libraries, Museums and Document Centre of Astan Quds Razavi in Mashhad.
At the first stage of this research, the attitudes of the Qajar kings towards historical buildings and heritage will be reviewed. Moreover, the reasons behind the erection of the National Heritage Society and the involvement of Western Orientalists will be explained. At the second stage, the impacts of Western Orientalists on Pahlavi’s policy regarding restoration of historical buildings will be scrutinized. The focus of this paper is to elaborate the involvement of four key people namely: Ernst Herzfeld, André Godard, Arthur Upham Pope and Maxime Siroux. The paper will deal with of how these men were invited by the key members of National Heritage Society (Anjoman-e Asar-e Melli), and how they were involved in restoration projects. This paper will also examine their approach or activities regarding built heritage in Iran that simply slipped into neglect after the Islamic Revolution of 1979. Having studied the under-researched and unpublished materials that have been gathered from the extensive documentary and archival sources, this research aims to illuminate the various aspects of Western orientalist involvement in terms of conservation or destruction of cultural heritage in the Twentieth Century Iran.
Key words: Restoration and conservation, Historical buildings, National Heritage Society, Western Orientalists, Pahlavi era