She was one of five eminent miniaturist Iran introduced as its living human treasures after the art of miniature painting was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2020.

Ashanpur was interested in painting from childhood as she made use of every moment to do drawings with chalk and charcoal on the courtyard walls and floor of her family's home.

Like many of her contemporaries, she married very early, when she was only 16, but the marriage did not stop her pursuing her dreams in art.

She soon learned that she would have to improve her skills in art through academic studies. To that end, she sought and gained admission to the Kamalolmolk School of Art, where she received instruction from several master miniaturists.

She was heavily influenced by Abbas Jalali Susanabadi, who was famous for his innovative approach to miniature, which is known as Persian painting in Iran.

Inspired by numerous Persian classical poets such as  Ghazali, Rumi, Khayyam, Attar and Hafez, she created a massive collection containing over 400 works that are preserved in private collections and several museums.

In an interview published by the Tehran Times in 1999, Afshanpour said that miniature paintngs are also produced in China and India, and noted that the best miniature paintings have been created by Iranian artists.

''I often work from night until morning,'' Afshanpur said adding, ''At dawn, when I hear the call to prayer, I feel that I am close to God, The peace I feel at that time cannot be explained by words.''

''Sheik Sanan and the Christian Girl'' by Afshanpur is one fo the works recorded in a file sent by Iran to UNESCO for registration on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
She produced the artwork based on the Sheikh Sanan story from Persian poet Attar Neyshaburi's ''The Conference of the Birds''.

Her paintings have been showcased in solo and group exhibitions in Iran and several countries, including Lebanon.

Source:Tehran Times