The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Trapped between Poetry and Politics: The Paradox of Wine in Islamic Cultures

Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018 – Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018

06:30 PM – 07:30 PM


Presented by author, scholar, and collector Abolala Soudavar

In many societies, wine is an instrument of joy and a ceremonial necessity—yet also the subject of hostility and prohibition. In modern-day Islamic nations, the prevailing religious tradition forbids the consumption of wine. At the same time, the popular culture of these countries celebrates wine in poetry, art, fables, and more, as seen in many of the selections from the Hossein Afshar Collection in the exhibition Bestowing Beauty: Masterpieces from Persian Lands.

In this talk, Abolala Soudavar explores the development of the opposition to wine in Islamic cultures, revealing motives that were not theological, but political.

About the Speaker
Scholar and collector Abolala Soudavar, who served on the MFAH board of trustees accessions committee from 1986 to 1994, is the author of Art of the Persian Courts;The Aura of Kings: Legitimacy and Divine Sanction in Iranian Kingship; and Mithraic Societies: From Brotherhood Ideal to Religion's Adversary.

• $5 Museum members
• $10 Nonmembers
Secure your spot in advance! Get online tickets below.


  • Tuesday - Wednesday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Thursday, 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Friday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
    Sunday, 12:15 pm - 7:00 pm
    Monday: Closed (Except Monday Holidays). Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
  • General Admission: MFAH Members-FREE Adult-$15 ($14 Online); Senior (65+) $10 ($9 Online); Youth (13-18) $7.50 ($6.50 Online); Child (12 & younger) FREE; Military (ID Required) $10; Student (ID Required) $7.50 Ticketed exhibitions require an additional admission charge. Free Hours: FREE THURSDAY 10 am - 9 pm

Directions & Parking

  • Free Parking
  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Make visiting a snap! Enlarge the map to see main-campus parking options, or download the PDF

    Parking update: A new underground parking garage, located on Montrose Boulevard, is now open!

    • The outdoor parking lot on Bissonnet, across from the Law Building, is closed permanently.
    • Parking is available in two garages: an above-ground garage at 1144 Binz Street, and a new underground garage at 5101 Montrose Blvd.
    • Guests with limited mobility: We recommend that you use the covered drop-off lane at the Main Street entrance to the Beck Building, or use wheelchair-accessible parking in the garage at 1144 Binz Street.

    Parking Garage Locations

    • 1144 Binz Street
    • 5101 Montrose Boulevard

    Parking Fees*

    Parking payments may be made only with a major credit card. Also accepted: MasterCard and Visa debit cards.
    MFAH Members Visitors
    0–30 minutes FREE FREE
    31 minutes–4 hours $6 $10
    4–12 hours $10 $18
    12–24 hours $35 $35
    *Parking is free for MFAH visitors who enter the Museum between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Thursdays. General admission to the Museum is free on Thursdays, courtesy of Shell.


    Both parking garages are open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Special Offers / Dining

Paolo Fronza, from Fellini Caffè, runs this sophisticated dining operation. Enjoy an array of Italian-inspired fare with a Texas flair, a European-style coffee bar, a kids menu, and much more at the MFA Café, located on the lower level of the Beck Building.

Events at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Join the Houston Museum District

Join our mailing list for sneak peeks to upcoming events and insider information on the best museum district in the world

I'm interested in memberships