Archive for Ancient

Chehel Sotoun


This great Safavid Palace was one of nearly 300 built in Isfahan when it was the capital of Iran. It was largely completed under Shah Abbas II (1642-1667), although work may have started on the palace as early as 1598, and is said to derive its name from the pillars which dominate the verandah. There are twenty of these laid out in three rows of six with two additional ones on either side of the main entrance. When these are reflected in the water of the pool the number is made up to forty, the Farsi for which is “chehel – 40”. However the number forty is also used to signify a large number as in the Minaret of Chehel Dokhtaran.

The magnificent talar or verandah, is the dominant feature of the palace and the slender columns, over 40m tall, which support it are cut from single chenar trees (platanus orientalis). The roof is also made from chenar tree beams and inset with complex decoration. The surface of much of the throne room is still covered with mirrored glass and this probably also was used on the pillars, as it was in the palace of Ali Qapu, so as to give the appearance of a roof floating in the air.

Looking out over the pool from the Verandah, one is able to appreciate the importance attached historically by Persians to the concept of “talar” which fulfilled their love of sitting in the garden while they were protected from the light and heat.

Behind the verandah there is a small raised throne room which leads into a spacious audience chamber. This is richly decorated with paintings celebrating the heyday of the Safavid dynasty, including a particularly celebrated one of Shah Tahmasb receiving the Mughul Emperor Homayun at a banquet. There are also some paintings of a more secular nature, depicting ladies lying in gardens and hunting scenes, although these have been badly defaced. On the outside of the building there are some particularly interesting pictures of european figures, presumably based on the ambassadors and their retinue who would have stayed in the palace from time to time.

Interesting aspects of the Chehel Sotoun (Sotoon) Palace are:{mosimage}

The stone lions at the four corners of the central pool, the hall and marble and vaulted cornices around it.
The gilded adornments, paintings and the portrait of the sovereign in the royal hall. Along with that of the chambers surrounding the hall of mirrors.
The portrait of Shah Abbas I with the special crown and the miniatures of the treasury room.
Several facades such as the ‘Qotbiyeh Mosque’, ‘Zaviyeh in Kushk’, and the imprints of the ‘Dar-e-Joubareh’ and ‘Aqasi Mosque’ are affixed in the western and southern walls of the garden. The hall and porches of this palace were constructed during the fifth year of the reign of Shah Abbas II. The reflection of the twenty pillars of the hall in the pool opposite the palace brings about a conception of forty pillars. Hence the name Chehel Sotune.

As with Ali Qapu, the palace contains many frescoes and paintings on ceramic. Many of the ceramic panels have been dispersed and are now in the possession of major museums in the west. They depict specific historical scenes such as a reception for an Uzbek King in 1646, when the palace had just been completed; a banquet in honor of the Emir of Bukhara in 1611; the battle of Chalderan against the Ottoman Sultan Selim II in 1514 in which the Persians fought without firearms; the welcome extended to the Mughal Emperor,Humayun who took refuge in Iran in 1544; the battle of Taher-Abad in 1510 where the Safavid Shah Ismail I vanquished and killed the Uzbek King. A more recent painting depicts Nadir Shah’s victory against the Indian Army at Karnal in 1739. There are also less historical, but even more aesthetic compositions in the traditional miniature style which celebrate the joy of life and love.

This building – now a veritable museum of Persian painting and ceramics-was a pleasure pavilion used for the king’s entertainments and receptions. It stands inside a vast royal park, but relatively near the enclosure, and was built by Shah Abbas II round an earlier building erected by Shah Abbas I. An inscription states that the decoration and frescoes were finished in 1647. Only two large historical frescoes date from the later period of the Zand dynasty.

Unfortunately, the Chehel Sotun has been badly damaged since then, especially when the Afghans occupied the town and covered the paintings with a thick coat of whitewash. It is now being extensively restored under the aegis of the Institute Italian Per il Medio Oriente.

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Drawing and Painting


 

WaterColor Painting- Iran - Esfahan

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it; drawing is putting a line around an idea.  Most of the artists want to draw something meaningful and some may want to draw something that means something to someone. When an artist wants to draw something they might have self doubts or fear, but artists should believe in themselves and what comes from within them. Some might want to draw emotions of a mother, like the feeling of a mother holding her child for the first time, or the great feeling after helping someone in need  or a moment of clarity, something that nobody’s saying it but everybody’s thinking it, something to believe in again. It’s not easy to draw that feeling. But, artists shouldn’t think because they might not great at it then they might ruin it. Art, like morality, consists in drawing the line somewhere.Like Frederick Franck said: I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.

Old Times - Iran - WaterColor Painting

“Do not fail, as you go on, to draw something every day, for no matter how little it is, it will be well worthwhile, and it will do you a world of good.”  Cennini

WaterColor painting

 

Aseman Hotel - Isfahan In A Rainy Day - Iran - WaterColor Painting

Most of the paintings are watercolor paintings. All of them are views on Iran, some on old times and some are on present time.

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Safavid Period Architecture


 

Iran - Isfahan

Safavid art refers to art in Persia (Iran) during the dynasty of the same name (1501-1722), a high point for the art of the book and architecture; other art at the time included ceramics, metal and glass.

Iran - Esfahan

Iran - Esfahan

For the third time in the history of the Safavids, the capital of the empire changed under Shah Abbas: to Isfahan, a city in a more centralized location than Tabriz or Qazvin (which is between Tehran and Tabriz). A new capital was thus set up beside the ancient city, organized around a meydan, a large place 512 metres long by 159 wide.

Iran - Esfahan

On one side stands the Shah’s mosque, on the other the Shah’s oratory, called the mosque of Sheikh Lutfallah, while the pavilion Ali Qapu opens onto a large pleasure walkway (Chahar Bagh) and the grand bazaar led to the old mosque on Fridays. Two bridges cross the Zayandeh River, leading to an Armenian section taking the name of Nea Julfa.

 
 
 
 
 

Iran - Isfahan

 

 

Iran - Isfahan

Chaharbagh school
 
A tiling collection, The Madresse chaharbagh, or royal school, also named after the king’s mother; is one of the last, but otherwise most beautiful works of Safavid period architecture. It was built at the time of Shah Sultan Hussain, the last of the safavid kings. The building also displays the art of tile work at its best. It is an example of late Safavid period tile work. On the eastern wing of the school was the king’s mother caravansary, a place for travellers to rest. Today it has been turned into the magnificent Abbasi Hotel, itself a museum of post-Safavid works of art. (17th century after Christ).

Iran - Isfahan

 

 

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The magic of nature in Ordibehesht!


Photos by: Flo14wer (Dove of Peace)

Nature is my teacher.  She unfolds her treasures to my search, unseals my eye, illumes my mind, and purifies my heart, an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence. I can enjoy society in a room, but out of doors, nature is company enough for me.

Nature is my medicine. The most inspired I ever feel is after experiencing the power of nature. I am most moved come spring when the colors jump off the landscape and captivate the soul. Spring in Iran is so magical. Flowers really do intoxicate me.

In the Zoroastrian calendar, the third day of the month and the second month of the year are dedicated to and named after aša and Asha Vahishta (called Ordibehesht in Modern Persian both in Iranian Calendar and Yazdgerdi calendar).

Ordibehesht means truth and purity.

The names of the 12 Persian months are taken from the ancient Zoroastrian texts and the origins are deeply rooted in their belief system.  This was the religion of Iran before the advent of Islam in seventh century AD. Zoroastrians believed in two primal forces, good and evil. Everything that supported and enriched life was good and all that threatened life and disturbed order was bad. The Lord of Wisdom (Ahura Mazda) created goodness and the Hostile Spirit (Angra Mainyu) created all that was bad (Ahriman in modern Persian).


The doctrine of holy immortals is central to understanding Zoroastrianism. The six manifest the qualities and attributes of Ahura Mazda and can bestow these qualities upon righteous humans. Vohu Manah (Bahman) represents “Good Purpose”, Asha Vahishta (Ordibehesht) means “Best Righteousness” and Spenta Armaiti (Espand) personifies “Holy Devotion”. Khshathra Vairya (Shahrevar) is “Desirable Dominion” and represents the power each person needs to exert righteousness in life. The final pair are Haurvatat and Ameretat, heath and long life (Khordad and Amordad). The six are the names of six of the months in modern Persian calendar. Not only they represent different aspects of the Wise God but each one is also responsible for protecting one of the creations.

Shahrevar is lord of the sky, and Espand protects mother earth. Khordad protects water and health and plants belong to Amordad. Bahman guarded all animals and was a powerful symbol of creative goodness while Ordibehesht became guardian of fire. Finally man with his intelligence and power of choice, belongs to Ahura Mazda.

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Prince of Persia : The Sands of Time


Like many, I became a fan of this franchise with the Sands of Time trilogy, and I was very excited when I learned that there were plans to make a feature film based on it. The storyline of the game is very cinematic (at least in the aforementioned trilogy, not necessarily in the previous games in the series) so I felt that at film adaptation would be an impressive epic.

Having finally seen this movie, I can say that Prince of Persia was an immensely enjoyable movie.

The visuals in this movie are stunning. Everything from the cinematography of the desert landscapes to the city of Alamut and the beautiful sets are a real treat to look at.

There was some historical inaccuracy, but I will rate it 6/10, for the story, direction, art, architecture, music, actors, …

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Pearl Of The Desert


Ancient castle in Rayen – Iran
 
 
 
The history of human settlements in the territory of Kerman dates back to the 4th millennium BC. This area is considered as one of the ancient regions of Iran and valuable historical vestiges have been discovered here. Jiroft is an example, where a previously unknown settlement dating back to around 2500BC has just been established by archeologists. Kerman has an abundance of historical sites and landmarks, 283 in total, according to Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organization. Ancient abandoned citadels such as Arg-é Bam and Rayen castle have been preserved in the desert for two thousand years.
  
 
 
 
Rayen is a city in Kerman (province). Rayen is everything Bam used to be before the earthquake. Rayen has a historic Arg (fortress) built entirely of sun-dried mud bricks. Its historic city has countless mudbrick houses, some of them unfortunately decaying, but it is this decaying charm that makes the city even more attractive.
Arg-e Rayen was inhabited until 150 years ago and, although believed to be at least thousands years old, may in fact have foundations from the pre-Islamic Sassanid era.
 
 
 
 
The planning and architecture of the citadel are thought out from different points of view. From the present form of the citadel one can see that the planner(s) had foreseen the entire final form of the building and city from the first steps in the planning process. During each phase of building development the already-built part enjoyed a complete figure, and each additional part could be “sewn” into the existing section seamlessly.
 
 
 
The citadel is situated in the center of the fortress-city, on the point with widest view for security. When the gate of the city was closed, no human or animal could enter. The inhabitants could continue living for a long period of time in isolation as they had access to a well, gardens, and domestic animals inside. When the fortress-city was besieged the inhabitants could remain in the city while the soldiers could defend it, protected by high walls and towers.
 
 
 
 
All buildings are made of non-baked clay bricks, i.e. adobes. Bam Citadel was, prior to the 2003 earthquake, the biggest adobe structure in the world and then Rayen Castle (Arg-é Rayen).
 
 

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Iran -Tomb Of Prophet Daniel


Here is a photo showing an Iranian Jewish man at the shrine with his cell phone on, so his family members back home can participate in pray.

Daniel , Persian: دانيال is the central protagonist of the Book of Daniel. The name “Daniel” means “God is my judge”.

According to the Biblical book of Daniel, at a young age Daniel was carried off to Babylon where he was trained in the service of the court under the authority of Ashpenaz. It is also written that Daniel became famous for interpreting dreams and rose to become one of the most important figures in the court and lived well into the reign of the Persian (Iranian) conquerors.

Some Christian denominations regard Daniel as a saint and as prophet. Judaism considers the Book of Daniel a part of its canon (Jewish Law), but does not regard Daniel as a prophet. Islam also regards Daniel as a prophet, though he is not mentioned explicitly in the Quran.

Qajari tilework detail in the square in front of the tomb of Prophet Daniel.
Says words of Imam Ali: Whoever visits my brother Daniel has visited me.

The fact that he had just interpreted the emperors’ dream had resulted in his promotion and that of his companions. Being favored by the King, Cyrus the Great (Iranian King), he was untouchable. His companions were vulnerable to the accusation that had them thrown into the furnace for refusing to worship the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar as a god; but they were miraculously saved, and Daniel would years later be cast into a den of lions (for continuing to practice his faith in YHWH), but was miraculously delivered; after which Cyrus(Iranian King), issued a decree enjoining reverence for “the God of Daniel” (Daniel 6:26). He “prospered in the reign of Darius(Iranian King), and in the reign of Cyrus the Great,” whom he probably greatly influenced in the matter of the decree which put an end to the Jewish Captivity (BC 536).

The time and circumstances of Daniel’s death have not been recorded. However, tradition maintains that Daniel was still alive in the third year of Cyrus(Iranian King), according to the Tanakh (Daniel 10:1). He would have been almost 100 years old at that point, having been brought to Babylon when he was in his teens, more than 80 years previously. He died at Susa in Iran. Tradition holds that his tomb is located in Susa at a site known as Shush-e Daniyal.

 

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