The 2,500th anniversary of the founding of the Persian Empire by Cyrus the Great, celebrated at Persepolis in 1971: this is the occasion around which this book and exhibition have been prepared.
Persepolis '71 was a party, held over three days by the last Shah of Iran, for invited monarchy and heads of state. It has been described as the most lavish party of the twentieth century. At five and a half hours, this event holds the endurance record in the Guinness Book of Records for the longest state banquet. It was certainly an extraordinary occasion, and one that retrospectively has had many consequences. To some extent at least, the party survives. Today at Persepolis, the luxurious city built by a French interior design company to accommodate the dignitaries remains standing. The site is now dilapidated, overgrown, and vandalised. The tents themselves exist as ruined, skeletal structures; their tattered cloth coverings have been all but destroyed by the elements.
- from the inside flap of Michael Stevenson's Celebration at Persepolis catalog