Collection of 3 Rare Iranian World War II Posters Adapting the Story of Hitler to Five scenes from the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi
Item Number: 14536
[IRAN IN WWII]
Collection of 3 illustrated 1943 World War II propaganda posters, each measuring 13.5 x 9, done by British artist Kimon Evan Marengo, each with Farsi text and the artist's printed initials. Published by the British Ministry of Information for use, at the time of the Teheran Conference, when Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt met in Iran in 1943. The illustrations are based on 3 scenes from the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi. The battle between the Allies and the Axis powers is depicted here as the mythical battle between Fereydoon and Zahhak. Hitler is depicted as the mythical figure Zahak, an evil king who had two snakes (drawn here with the faces of Mussolini and Tojo) growing out of his shoulders. The three heroes on horseback distinctly resemble Roosevelt, Stalin, and Churchill. The myth of the tyrant Zahhak was an attempt at rendering anti-German propaganda more relevant to Iranian cultural sensibilities. The Iranian scholar Mojtaba Minovi (1903 -1976) was working for the BBC Persian service during World War II, and suggested using stories and imagery from the Shahnameh (see Wynn, p. 4). The images were created in 1942 by Marengo (1904-1988), known by the sobriquet Kem, a prolific creator of propaganda cartoons for the British during the war.
The Tehran Conference (codenamed Eureka) was a strategy meeting held between Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill in 1943 and was the first of the World War II conferences held between all of the "Big Three" Allied leaders. The main outcome of the Tehran Conference was the commitment to the opening of a second front against Nazi Germany by the Western Allies as well as the envisaged post-war settlement. A separate protocol signed at the conference pledged the Big Three's recognition of Iran's independence. In excellent condition.
These posters are extremely scarce and a set can be found at the Imperial War Museum in London, the British Library included these in a 2013 exhibition on World War II propaganda posters. In 25 years we have seen only one other set for sale.