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
    • Adults $15
    • Seniors (65+ with ID) $10
    • Military (with ID) $10
    • College Students (19+ with ID) $7.50
    • Youth (13–18) $7.50
    • Children (12 & younger) FREE
    • Certain special exhibitions are ticketed, with an additional charge.
    On Thursday, general admission is free for everyone.

Directions & Parking

  • Free Parking
  • Paid Parking
  • Street Parking
  • Make visiting a snap! Visit mfah.org/parking for complete parking info, including a map you can download.

    Two Parking Garages        

    Parking Garage Hours

    Open daily from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Parking Garage Fees

    • Parking payments may be made only with major credit cards, or with MasterCard and Visa debit cards.
    • The first 30 minutes are always free. On Thursday, parking is free for visitors who enter the Museum between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m.
    • For hourly rates, go to mfah.org/parking
    Recommendation for guests with limited mobility: 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.

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.

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