The late Abbas Sahab was born on 3.10.1300 in the village of "Fam" of Tafresh district . His father Ostad Abolghasem Sahab Tafreshi was a renown writer of his time who had written about seventy volumes on historical, geographical, religious, cultural and artistic topics of which12 volumes have been printed including the life story of many of our beloved Imams.
Under care of his cultured parents , Abbas Sahab completed his elementary, high school and university training in Tehran where he grew up as a self made cartographer of renown and established the first institute of cartography and geography in the whole country . From his early years until his death at the ripe age of seventy, he devoted all his life to the drafting, drawing, production and circulation of maps and making the general public familiar with them. Motivated by a great love for his country and its cultural expansion, gifted by a tireless capacity of working day and night and supported by all members of his family, he managed to create more than 1,500 valuable works including maps , atlases , plates, scientific and medical illustrations and geographical globes of all sorts and sizes, which found their way into educational centers at all levels throughout the country.
Consequently , to day one hardly finds an educated person in Iran that has not heard of Sahab and has not been influenced by his works in some way or other .
Ever since his childhood days, Sahab loved painting and drawing. A quality that can be seen from his artistic drawings all around margins of his early maps besides which he has left behind him a whole collection of paintings and ” tableau d’art“ that are carefully preserved in the Sahab Institute of Cartography and Geography .
Between 1320 and 1335 (1941 to 1956 ), when young and energetic , Sahab traveled a lot . He visited about thirty thousand towns and villages and prepared hand made maps of many towns and districts some of which like maps of Tehran, Esfahan and Mazandaran are of great historical value .
Having procured a satisfactory coverage of maps of Iran , he embarked on the policy of preparing maps of neighboring countries . Between 1337 and 1340 (1968 to 1971) , he issued maps of Afghanistan , Pakistan , Iraq and Turkey that all made out in his personal style and mode .
In 1339 ( 1970 ) , Sahab organized the First International Map Exhibition in the Tehran Teachers Training High School in which, apart from the local centers, a number of foreign map making firms participated. In later years he took the same exhibition to Esfahan , Abadan and other cities .
During the decade 1340 to 1350 (1960-1971 ) , in addition to all sorts of maps and atlases for schools and organizations , Sahab prepared a complete set of historical maps as well as a number of guide books for the larger cities in Iran. At the same period he compiled and printed the three well known volumes of the Atlas of the Persian Gulf .
In the late years of his life i . e . from 1360 to 1379 ( 1980 to 2000 ), while suffering from poor health , he worked day and night on the most important work of his life namely The Great Atlas of 14 Centuries of Islamic Arts in 20 volumes , the first of which was published in 1381 ( 2000 ) after the tireless author was no longer living to see the publication .
Abbas Sahab is the true founder of modern cartography in Iran and a pioneer in the development of this science and in the mean time one of the traditional cartographers that have made a name because of having a style of their own . He is also the founder of the first cartographic institute in the private sector of Iranian economy . He is the first producer of geographical globes in Farsi ( Persian ) and the creator of hundreds of maps , books, pamphlets , articles and other geographical materials .
Ostad Sahab was an active member of the International Cartographic Association ( ICA ) and participated in all the annual meetings of that Association . He also made repeated travels to various European and American countries where he visited universities, scientific societies and met with key personalities in the fields of geography and international cartography with most of whom he was in constant touch in connection with his profession .
In addition to Sahab Cartographical and Geographical Institute and the large printing house , the most important and sustainable souvenir of the late Abbas Sahab is the unique Sahab Library that is the one and only one in the whole of the Middle East .
This library first founded by Sahab’s father Ostad Abolghassem Sahab and has developed over years by Abbas Sahab who throughout his life spared no effort to enrich it library by acquiring all sorts of maps , atlases, geographical books and journals in all languages that now it boasts of having 16,000 books and an equal number of journals that all are related to geography and associated sciences and some 20,000 maps of various size and nature .
Rather unfortunately, Ostad Sahab died on 14.1 .1379 after a long illness and was buried in the Artists and Learned Men Section of Behesht – e- Zahra cemetery, leaving management of the Sahab Institute to his two sons who continue business on the lines assigned to them by their late father .
After Sahab’s death, special memorial services were organized by the Islamic Ministry of Culture and Guidance, University of Tehran, Society for the Appreciation of cultural works and Dignitaries , Minstry of Foreign Affairs etc . A full length film of Sahab’s life was made in his life time back in 1379 ( 2000 ) named the” Geography of love " .