This book deals for the first time with the cultural history of media in nineteenth-century Iran, a history that deals with how modern techniques of representation and communication were received in the Iranian Shi.a society. This reception history is examined in religious photography, military reforms, Persian passion plays, Shi.a medicine, and the burgeoning telegraphic culture. The problematic relationship between Sh..a Islam and 19th-century media is conceptualised and contextualised, especially through the lens of the first Polytechnique college (D.r al-Fonun, 1851) in Iran. This college is conceptualised as a media laboratory, where the technological sphere in Iran was fundamentally transforming. It is also contextualised in the age of reform, a period in which the Middle East was undergoing widespread social, political, and military changes. Islamic (art) history, Iranian Studies, and cultural analysis form an interdisciplinary analytic framework to create new knowledge about the historical complexity of 19th-century Iran.