VYT Samantha Happe.mp4 (5.83 MB)

From Paradise to Versailles: Diplomatic gifts and material exchange between France and Persia in the early eighteenth century.

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posted on 14.10.2020 by Samantha Happe
The early modern period (c.1500CE - 1800CE) was defined by its increased trade and technological advancements. Transcultural systems of value were established, and gifts were foregrounded as an essential element of creating and maintaining foreign relationships. A diplomatic relationship developed between France and Persia throughout the seventeenth century, culminating in an official visit from a French ambassador to Isfahan in 1708, and a reciprocal trip to Versailles by the Persian ambassador in 1715.

My research aims to shed some light on diplomatic art and rebalance power relations between the two countries. I focus on the role of the gift in 18th century Franco-Persian diplomatic encounters, privileging the material object while closely examining written and visual sources. My object-based analysis will reveal underlying nuances and motivations expressed by the two powerful nations.

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