The Martyr’s Way to Paradise


Ever since the political changes in Iran more than twenty years ago, ideological discussions have manifested themselves in various arenas of political and societal concern. Apart from the traditional means of propaganda such as print-media and modern mass communication, Iranian political institutions employ a large range of other media to propagate their intentions and ideas. Of these, representations in writing and illustration in public spaces deserve particular attention, since they combine traditional modes of artistic expression with intentions of contemporary concernfor Shiite Iran.
In Tehran, walls on large buildings have been used for pictorial illustrations of moral and political standards pertaining to the presently propagated Shia ideals. Mural art serves various ends, such as glorifying the Shiite martyrs, reminding the people of the righteous leadership, and, more recently, substituting nature as a means to humanize the concrete habitat of moderncities. All of these ends aim to stabilize the present value-system byunderlining its intention, outlining its basic values, or simply offering comfort in times of depression.

How to Cite

Marzolph, U., (2003) “The Martyr’s Way to Paradise”, Ethnologia Europaea 33(2), 87-98. doi:

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.


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Ulrich Marzolph (Universität Göttingen)



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