The Palace of Iran stood in a charming corner of the Exhibition, in the centre of the dahlia garden, near the International Hall, and the pavilions of Palestine and Egypt, completing with them a synthesis of the legendary and modern Orient. The building was inspired by one of the most famous monuments of antiquity: the palace of Darius in Persepolis. At the top of a wide perron, columns supported a sober peristyle, decorated with winged lions with human faces. Mr. Frankignoul, the architect in charge of the construction of this palace, studied the plans in our museums; his collaborator was Mr. René Burgraeve.
From the moment one entered, one was struck by an atmosphere of delicate art and luxury; on the walls and on the floor were carpets, replicas of the most justly famous Persian rugs. Among them was a copy of the painting "The Hunt", one of the oriental wonders of the Louvre Museum. Visitors admired the finesse, the melting, the velvety texture of these amazingly fine fabrics; one, of pure silk, was the wonder of this section.
In recent years, the Department of Industry has multiplied the number of professional schools in Iran where the art of reproducing ancient Persian carpets is taught.
In this pavilion, one could also see fine silverware from Shiraz and Isfahan: vases, bowls, trinkets, hand-chased with meticulous art; the same qualities distinguished the numerous and beautiful embossed copperware. The Iranian craftsmen have indeed taken over the traditions of the old oriental engravers. Huge copper plates evoked the great Persian poets, the ancient kings of Iran; then there were hunting scenes, reproductions of famous paintings and tapestries. Artists had painted flowers, animals, hieratic faces on light candelabras and wooden candlesticks. Others had combined painting and gilding to create splendid book or album covers, bindings of the most refined taste. Still others, working with bone and ivory with a perfection inherited from long generations of artists, had made belts, bracelets, objects illustrated with miniatures.
The silks and printed cottons, the hangings, the curtains, the embroideries from Isfahan and Recht, the carpets, the style of the pavilion, the clear decoration of the walls, all contributed to give the Persian section the appearance of a palace from the Arabian Nights. But, on the other hand, one could see, by studying with the attention that each of them deserved, the compartments occupied by the main industries of Iran today: dried fruits, Astrakhan wools, cotton, skins, etc., that this very ancient country, is walking with a determined step in the way of progress.
This was the opinion of all the visitors and that of His Majesty King Leopold III, who in the last days of July 1935, stopped for a long time at the Persian Pavilion.
© Le Livre d'Or de l'Exposition Universelle de Bruxelles 1935