Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, Los Angeles CA

The Iran Heritage Foundation is pleased to announce that the Cyrus Cylinder and its accompanying exhibition, The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning, is on display at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa, Los Angeles, from October 2nd through December 2nd 2013. The exhibition is organized by the British Museum in partnership with the Iran Heritage Foundation (IHF America) and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

Timothy Potts, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum:

“The Cyrus Cylinder is one of the most important artefacts to have survived from the ancient world and we are delighted that it will be on view next fall to visitors at the Getty Villa, where it will be shown in the context of other artefacts and inscriptions from the period of the Achaemenian empire. More than any other document from the ancient world, this declaration by King Cyrus of the return of conquered nations to their settlements, has a continuing relevance to the peoples of the Middle East and indeed throughout the world. As home to the largest community of Iranian Americans in the United States, I have no doubt that Los Angeles will thrilled by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”


The Los Angeles display of the exhibition at the Getty Villa is generously sponsored by Farhang Foundation. During the 9 weeks of the Los Angeles stop of the exhibition, a number of events and educational programs are arranged at the Getty Villa:


Cyrus the Great and the Persian Empire: Perspectives from Antiquity to Today

Since its discovery in 1879, the Cyrus Cylinder has prompted wide-ranging discussion about the benevolent nature of Cyrus’s rule. At this one-day symposium, experts address a range of perspectives from which the Cylinder—and the Achaemenid Empire generally—have been understood. Speakers will consider Babylonian precursors, the Persian and Jewish traditions, the ancient Greek view, and the representation of Cyrus in modern Iran. Symposium fee $15. Generous support for this program was provided by the J. Paul Getty Museums Villa Council.

Sunday, October 27, 2013; 10:15 a.m.–5:15 p.m., Auditorium

Learn More


The Cyrus Cylinder: The Discovery and Creation of an Icon

John Curtis, Keeper of Special Middle Eastern Projects at the British Museum, speaks about the Cyrus Cylinder, an ancient clay cylinder inscribed by the Persian king Cyrus the Great after he conquered Babylon (present-day Iraq) in 539 B.C. Curtis explores the reasons for the cylinder’s historical significance and the importance it has acquired since its discovery in 1879. Free; a ticket is required.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013; 7:30 p.m., Auditorium

Learn More

Empire, Authority, and Autonomy in the Achaemenid Persian Empire

The Achaemenid Persian Empire (about 550–330 B.C.) was enormous and incorporated many different cultures. Before rapid transit or instant communication, how were affairs of governance conducted in a sociopolitical entity of this size? Archaeologist Elspeth Dusinberre examines government archives, food, alcohol, gender relations, and even the original Pony Express to illuminate how the empire founded by Cyrus the Great functioned. Co-presented with the Archaeological Institute of America. Free; a ticket is required. Tickets available beginning Thursday, October 10, 2013.

Saturday, November 2, 2013; 2:00 p.m., Auditorium

Gallery Course

Cyrus to Alexander: Persians, Greeks, and the Invention of History

The Greeks feared, admired, and maligned the Persians from before Cyrus until after Alexander the Great. Explore the Greek view through tales and art with educator Shelby Brown, then compare the Persian perspective and try your hand at cuneiform. The course ends with a tour of the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning. Course fee $35 (includes refreshments). Complimentary parking.

Saturday, October 19, 2013; 2:00–4:30 p.m., Repeats Sunday, October 20, 2013; 2:00–4:30 p.m, Meeting Rooms

Studio Courses

Proclamations in Clay

Join artist Anna Mayer for a ceramic workshop pairing language and clay. Begin with an exploration of the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning. In the studio, learn hand-building techniques to create ceramic cylinders and vessels inscribed with your own text dedications. Ceramics will be fired following the course for later pick-up. Course fee $150 (includes materials and lunch). Complimentary parking.

Sunday, October 27, 2013; 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Repeats Sunday, November 17, 2013; 10:30 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Education Studio and Museum galleries

Culinary Workshop: Ancient Persia

Discover the flavors of the ancient Near East with chef and educator Maite Gomez-Rejón. Tour the exhibition The Cyrus Cylinder and Ancient Persia: A New Beginning and pick herbs in the garden to prepare and enjoy a meal showcasing the multiethnic cuisine of the Persian Empire. Course fee $85. Complimentary parking. Tickets available beginning Tuesday, October 2, 2013.

Thursday, November 14, 2013; 11:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Repeats Friday, November 15, 2013; 11:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Meeting Rooms and Museum galleries


Twinklings of Hope: Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat in Concert

The music of Mahsa and Marjan Vahdat reflects the evolution of Persian song. Part of a new generation of musicians who are university educated and devoted to their artistic cause, the Vahdats uphold a waning tradition in today’s Iran. Tickets $25. Generous support for this program was provided by the J. Paul Getty Museums Villa Council.

Saturday, October 19, 2013; 7:30 p.m., Sunday, October 20, 2013; 3:30 p.m., Auditorium

Family Activity

Scribes Wanted!

Drop by with your family to learn how scribes in ancient Persia created documents such as the Cyrus Cylinder. Try your hand at writing your own cuneiform (a type of old script) message! This is a free, drop-in program.

Saturdays, October 5– 26, 2013; 11:00 a.m.–2:30 p.m., Outer Peristyle


More information about the museum:

  • Hours and Admission – Please notice that while admission is free, advance reservation is required. Specifically because of the Cyrus Cylinder exhibition, the museum will be open until 9:00PM on Saturdays.
  • Maps, Parking, Directions – Getty Villa is located in Pacific Palisades on Hwy 1 (Pacific Coast Hwy).