Ta'zieh or Ta'zïye or Ta'zīya or Tazīa or Ta'ziyeh, (Arabic: تعزية, Persian: تعزیه, Urdu: تعزیہ) means comfort, condolence or expression of grief. It comes from roots aza (عزو and عزى) which means mourning.
Depending on the region, time, occasion, religion, etc. the word can signify different cultural meanings and practices:
Ta'zieh, primarily known from the Persian tradition, is a shi'ite Muslim ritual that reenacts the death of Hussein (the prophet Muhammad's grandson) and his male children and companions in a brutal massacre on the plains of Karbala, Iraq in the year 680 A.D. His death was the result of a power struggle in the decision of control of the Muslim community (called the caliph) after the death of the Prophet Muhammad.
Today, we know of 250 Ta'zieh pieces. They were collected by an Italian ambassador to Iran, Cherulli, and added to a collection which can be found in the Vatican Library. Various other scripts can be found scattered throughout Iran.
Ta'zieh as a kind of passion play is a kind of comprehensive indigenous form considered as being the national form of Iranian theatre which have pervasive influence in the Iranian works of drama and play. It originates from some famous mythologies and rites such as Mithraism, Sug-e-Siavush (Mourning for Siavush) and Yadegar-e-Zariran or Memorial of Zarir. The Ta'zieh tradition originated in Iran in the late 17th century.
There are two branches of Islam; the Sunni and the Shi'i. The Sunnis make up about 85-90% of Muslims, but the Ta'zieh tradition is performed by Shi'i Muslims during the first month of the Muslim calendar, Muharram, one of the four sacred months of the Islam calendar. Muharram means forbidden. The Ta'Zieh is performed each year on the 10th day of Muharram, a historically significant day for the Shi'i Muslims because that was the day of Hussein's slaughter. Each year the same story is told, so the spectators know the story very well and know what to expect. However, this does not negatively affect audience levels. In fact, the Ta'zieh welcomes large crowds and the audience members are known to cry each time the story is told in mourning and respect for Hussein.
A strong belief in the Muslim community was that nothing created by regular people could be better than the way Allah created it, so all other creation was deemed disrespectful. Because of this, there are not many accounts-visually or otherwise- of this religious tradition. During the tradition it was very important that all spectators knew the actors were not disrespecting Allah, so most often, the actors had their scripts on stage with them so it was clear that they were not trying to depict another person that Allah did not create. The ritual was eventually banned by the authorities in Iran because the ritual was being exploited for political advances. Ta'zieh is not performed regularly in Iran and has not been seen at all in certain provinces of the region since 1920. France was the first non-Muslim country that Ta'zieh was performed in 1991. Since then, the tradition has been seen in non-Persian cities like Avignon and Paris in France, Parma and Rome in Italy, and New York City.
|The ritual dramatic art of Ta'zīye|
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In Persian culture it refers to condolence theater and Naqqali which are traditional Persian theatrical genres in which the drama is conveyed wholly or predominantly through music and singing. It dates from before the Islamic era and the tragedy of Saiawush in Shahnameh is one of the best examples.
In Persian tradition, Ta'zieh and Parde-khani, inspired by historical and religious events, symbolize epic spirit and resistance. The common themes are heroic tales of love and sacrifice and of resistance against the evil.
While in the West the two major genres of drama have been comedy and tragedy, in Persia, Ta'zieh seems to be the dominant genre. Considered as Persian opera, Ta'zieh resembles European opera in many respects.
Persian cinema and Persian symphonic music have been influenced by the long tradition of Ta'zieh in Iran. Abbas Kiarostami, famous Iranian film maker, made a documentary movie titled "A Look to Ta'zieh" in which he explores the relationship of the audience to this theatrical form. Nasser Taghvaee also made a documentary on Ta'zieh titled "Tamrin e Akhar".
The appearance of the characteristic dramatic form of Persia known as the ta'zïye Mu'izz ad-Dawla, the king of Buyid dynasty, in 963. As soon as the Safavid Dynasty was established in Persia in 1501 and the Shiism of the Twelvers adopted as the official sect, the state took interest in theater as a tool of propagating Shiism.
Women were not considered active members of the Ta'zieh performance ritual. Almost all women in these rituals were played by young males, however on some occasions little girls under the age of nine were able to fulfill small roles. Women were traditionally played by males who would wear all black and veil their faces. During the festival period, the tekyehs were lavishly decorated by the women of the community that the performance took place, with the prized personal possessions of the local community. Refreshments were prepared by women and served to the spectators by the children of well-off families. Society women were invited to watch the performance from the boxes above the general viewing area. Generally the audience consisted of the more well-off families as they regarded Ta'zieh as entertainment, while the lower-class community members thought of it as an important religious ritual. The Ta'Zieh gained popularity during the 19th century and women painted scenes from Ta'Zieh performances on the stage on canvases and recorded history. This was a huge step in the history of islamic art.
In Persian Ta'Zieh, the space is very important. Originally, Ta'zieh dramas, like other Western Passion Plays, were performed in a public arena, allowing large audiences to convene. They later moved to smaller spaces like courtyards and spaces within the homes of private citizens, but eventually ended up being performed in temporarily constructed performance spaces called tekyehs or husseiniyehs. The most famous tekyeh is called the Tekyeh Dowlat. It was built by the King of Persia, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar and was situated in the capital of Iran, Tehran. Tekyehs (with the exception of the Tekyeh Dowlat) were almost always constructed for temporary use and then demolished at the end of Muharram. The Tekyeh Dowlat was a permanent space built in 1868, but was torn down 79 years later in 1947 due to lack of use and replaced by a bank. Its capacity was 4,000. They varied in size fitting anywhere between a dozen to thousands of spectators. Tekyehs were somewhat open-air, but almost always had awnings of sorts atop the building to shield the spectators and actors from sun and rain. All performers in a Ta'Zieh ceremony never leave the stage. The stage is elevated between one and two feet from the ground and split into four areas: one for the protagonists, antagonists, smaller subplots, and props.
Unlike most other theater traditions, especially Western theater traditions, the Ta'Zieh stage and its use of props were minimalist and stark. All tekyehs are designed so that the Ta'Zieh performance happens in-the-round to create a more intense experience between the actors and the audience. This enabled spectators to feel like they were part of the action on stage and sometimes encouraged them to become physically active members of the performance.
Costumes for a Ta'Zieh ritual are what is considered representational in terms of theater. They are not meant to present reality. The main goal of the costume design was not to be historically accurate, but to help the audience recognize which type of character they were looking at. Villains were the Sunni opponents of Imam Hussein. They are always dressed in red. The protagonists, family members of Hussein, were dressed in green if they were male characters. Anyone about to die was in white. Women were always portrayed by men in all black. One way to distinguish character besides the color of their costume is how they deliver their lines. The protagonists or family of Imam Hussein sing or chant their lines and the villains will declaim their lines. If a person is traveling in a circle on or around the stage, that meant they were going a long distance (usually represented the distance between Mecca and Karbala). Traveling in a straight line represented a shorter distance traveled.
Often animals were used in the performance of a Ta'zieh. Often performers of Ta'zieh were on horseback. Most men from the time they were young would train to be able to ride a horse because it was an honor in Persian culture to be part of the Ta'zieh, especially to play a character who rode horseback. There were often other animals used in the tradition as well. These other animals were: camels, sheep or sometimes even a lion. Usually the lion is not real, and is just represented by a man wearing a mask of some sort.
The artwork is a colorfully painted bamboo and paper mausoleum. This ritual procession is also observed by south Asian Muslims throughout present-day India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well as in countries with large historical South Asian diaspora communities established during the 19th century by indentured labourers to British, Dutch and French colonies. Notable regions outside of South Asia where such processions are performed include:
Tabuik made from bamboo, rattan and paper is a local manifestation of the Remembrance of Muharram among the Minangkabau people in the coastal regions of West Sumatra, Indonesia, particularly in the city of Pariaman culminates with practice of throwing a tabuik into the sea has taken place every year in Pariaman on the 10th of Muharram since 1831 when it was introduced to the region by Shia Muslim sepoy troops from India who were stationed and later settled there during the British Raj.
During the colonial era in British India, the ta'zīya tradition was not only practiced by Shia Muslims and other Muslims but joined by Hindus. Along with occasions for Shia Muslims and Hindus to participate in the procession together, the Tazia procession have also been historic occasions for communal conflicts between Sunni and Shia Muslims and between Hindu and Muslim communities since the 18th century, most notably the Muharram Rebellion which took place in Sylhet and was the first ever anti-British rebellion in the Indian subcontinent. These Tazia processions have traditionally walked through streets of a town, with mourning, flagellation and wailing, ultimately to a local lake, river or ocean where all the Tazia would be immersed into water.
Like Western passion plays, ta'zia dramas were originally performed outdoors at crossroads and other public places where large audiences could gather. Much like in Iranian performances, these performances in other countries also began taking place in the courtyards of inns and private homes, but eventually unique structures called takias (referred to as tekyehs in Persian Ta'zieh) were constructed for the specific purpose of staging the plays. Community cooperation was encouraged in the building and decoration of the takias, whether the funds for the enterprise were provided by an individual philanthropist or by contributions from the residents of its particular locality. The takias varied in size, from intimate structures which could only accommodate a few dozen spectators to large buildings capable of holding an audience of more than a thousand people. All takias, regardless of their size and geographic location, are constructed as theaters-in-the-round to intensify the dynamic between actors and audience. the spectators are literally surrounded by the action and often become physical participants in the play. In unwalled takias, it is not unusual for combat scenes to occur behind the audience.
Dikka (from Arabic: دكة dikka) is a term in Muslim architecture for a tribune raised upon columns from which the Quran is recited and prayers are intoned by the imam of a mosque.Hosay
Hosay (originally from Husayn) is a Muslim Indo-Caribbean commemoration that is popularly observed in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica. In Trinidad and Tobago, multi-colored model mausoleums or Mosque shaped model tombs known as Tadjah are used to display the symbolic part of this commemoration. They are built and paraded, then ritually taken to the sea on last day of observance, and finally discarded into the water.
The word 'Tadjah' derived from the Arabic word Ta'zieh and signifies different cultural meanings depending on the region, time period, occasion, and religion. In British Guiana, (now called Guyana), and Suriname, the festival was called Taziya or creolized into Tadjah in reference to these floats, argurably the most visible and decorative element of this festival.
Generally, Hosay lasts for 10 days and is observed in accordance with the Islamic lunar calendar and in line with ten days Ashura commemorated by Shia Muslims throughout the world. The last four days are the most popular as the first six days are days of fasting, prayer and building of the “Tadjahs” and “Moons”. Although Hosay was traditionally commemorated for Husain, its celebration in recent times has adopted all types of shades and characters from other religions including Roman Catholics, Hindus and Baptists, making the modern event a mixture of different cultures and religions. The event is attended by both Muslims and non-Muslims, depicting an environment of mutual respect and tolerance. A unique design of Tadja can be found during the Hosay celebrations in Cedros, a coastal village situated in the South-Western end of Trindad, that are built in an exclusive style that is not found anywhere else in the world, in terms of the art and style of construction. In nineteenth-century Trinidad newspapers as well as government reports called Hosay the "Coolie Carnival."Hussainiya
A ḥosayniya or hussainiya (Persian: حسینیه hoseyniye), also known as an ashurkhana, imambargah, or imambara, is a congregation hall for Twelver Shia Muslim commemoration ceremonies, especially those associated with the Mourning of Muharram. The name comes from Husayn ibn Ali, the third of the Twelve Imams and the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Husayn was killed at the Battle of Karbala on 10 October 680 CE during the reign of Umayyad Caliph Yazid I. The Shia commemorate his martyrdom every year on Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram. There are also other ceremonies which are held during the year in hussainiyas, including religious commemorations unrelated to Ashura.Imamat Day
Imamat Day is celebrated by Nizari Ismaili Shiʿi Muslims to mark the anniversary of the day that their present (Hazar) Imam succeeded his predecessor to become the Imam of the Time.The Aga Khan IV is the 49th Imam of the Ismailis, having succeeded his grandfather, the Aga Khan III on July 11, 1957. His Imamat Day is therefore observed annually on July 11.
The recognition of the Imam of the Time is central to Ismailis' faith and belief. Imamat Day provides occasion to reinforce this and to express gratitude to the Imam who, in keeping with the centuries-old tradition of leadership, provides guidance in matters of faith, and works to improve the quality and security of their lives. It is a day to reaffirm their spiritual allegiance to the Imam and renew their commitment to the ethics of their faith.Islamic music
Islamic music may refer to religious music, as performed in Islamic public services or private devotions, or more generally to musical traditions of the Muslim world. The classic heartland of Islam is the Middle East, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Iran, Central Asia, and South Asia, and it also included the medieval Iberian peninsula (al-Andalus). Due to Islam being a multi-ethnic religion, the musical expression of its adherents is vastly diverse. Indigenous traditions of various part have influenced the musical styles popular among Muslims today.Maddahi
Maddahi is a ceremonial singing or eulogy recitation especially for Shia Muslims. The word Maddahi means "to praise" in Arabic. One who sings this style is called a maddah. Maddahs mostly sing on Ahl al-Bayt's birth and death anniversary. The theme of Maddahi may be joyous or sorrowful. Most maddahs are men but some women perform in exclusively female gatherings. The majority of maddahis are sung in mourning of Ahl al-Bayt, particularly at the Mourning of Muharram in the beginning of Muharram until the Day of Ashura and Arba'een.Maryam Palizban
Maryam Palizban (Persian: مریم پالیزبان) is an Iranian film and stage actor. She graduated in 2004 from Tehran University-Faculty of Fine Arts in Performing Art.
She is passing her Doctorate thesis on Ta'zieh of Theater in Free University of Berlin Germany. She has received various prizes in Experimental and puppet theatre festivals as the best director and writer.
She played a leading part in Deep Breath, for which she was nominated as best actress by the Cinema Academy, 21st Fajr International Film Festival.Naskh (script)
Naskh (Arabic: قلم النسخ, romanized: qalam an-naskh, from نسخ, nasakha, "to copy") is a smaller, round script of Islamic calligraphy. Naskh is one of the first scripts of Islamic calligraphy to develop, commonly used in writing administrative documents and for transcribing books, including the Qur’an, because of its easy legibility. Naskh was standardized by Ibn Muqla as one of the six primary scripts of Islamic calligraphy in the 10th century CE.Persian theatre
Persian theater or Iranian theater (Persian:تئاتر در ایران) goes back to antiquity. The first initiation of theater and phenomena of acting can be traced in ceremonial theaters to glorify national heroes and legends and to humiliate the enemy, as in the classics "Soug Sivash" and "Mogh Koshi" (Megakhouni). Ancient Persian theatre and dance was significantly researched by the Greek historian Herodotus of Halikarnassos, who lived during the Persian rule in Greece. In his work Book IX (Calliope), he describes the history of Asian empires and also the Persian wars until 478 BC.Rawda Khwani
Rawda khwani (Persian: روضه خوانی, "reading the Rawda") is the Shia Iranian Muslim ritual of the Mourning of Muharram. It is held every day of the year to commemorate the death of Husayn ibn Ali and his followers during the Battle of Karbala.Ruqʿah script
Ruqʿah or Riqʿah (Arabic: رقعة) is a variety of the Arabic script, primarily used in official documents and every-day writing. Not to be confused with reqaʿ — one of the six traditional arabic scripts (al-aqlām al-sittah).Samaneh
Samaneh is a Persian female give name (Persian: سمانه ).
Samaneh Maghrebiya, Persian spelling for the wife of Muhammad ibn 'Alī ibn Mūsā (circa April 12, 811 - c. November 29, 835) ninth of the Twelve Imams of Shia Islam, and mother of Imam Ali Hadi
Samaneh Beyrami Baher, cross-country skier
Samaneh Kazemi (1980) Iranian scholar of Ta'zieh or Condolence Theater
Samaneh Sheshpari, Iranian Taekwondo athlete Taekwondo at the 2010 Asian Games – Women's 53 kg
Samaneh Pakdel (fa), Iranian film actress, Merajiha 2014Samaneh Kazemi
Samaneh Kazemi (born April 2, 1980, Tehran) is an Iranian scholar of Ta'zieh or Condolence Theater.She received her bachelor's degree from Soureh University (Iran) in dramatic literature in 2003 and master's degree from Dalarna University (Sweden) in film ethnography in 2010.Shiraz Arts Festival
The Shiraz Festival of Arts (Persian: جشنواره هنر شیراز) was an annual international summer arts festival, held in Iran bringing about the encounter between the East and the West. It was held from 1967 to 1977 in the city of Shiraz and Persepolis in central Iran by the initiative of Shahbanu Farah Pahlavi.Tabuik
A Tabuik is the local manifestation of the Remembrance of Muharram among the Minangkabau people in the coastal regions of West Sumatra, Indonesia, particularly in the city of Pariaman.Tasu'a
Tasu'a (Arabic: تاسوعاء, romanized: Tāsū‘ā’) is the ninth day of Muharram and the day before Ashura. Several events occurred on this day, including: Shemr's entrance to Karbala, the granting of safe conduct for the children of Umm ul-Banin, preparation for war; and Husayn ibn Ali and his companions were besieged by the enemy (as part of the Battle of Karbala). The day is attributed to Abbas ibn Ali because of his actions as commander in the army of Husayn ibn Ali.Tatar mosque
Tatar mosque — is the typical mosque architecture in Tatarstan and other Volga Tatar-populated areas of Russia. Occasionally found in other regions of Russia, modern Tatar religious architecture was developed in the late 18th century and gained popularity in the 19th century Idel-Ural.Tekyeh Dowlat
Tekyeh Dowlat (Persian: تکیه دولت lit. "State Theater") was a Royal Theater in Tehran, Iran. It was the most famous of all the ta'zieh performance spaces, for the Mourning of Muharram. It has a capacity for more than 4,000 people. Built in 1868 by Naser al-Din Shah Qajar south-east of the Golestan Palace on the site of the Síyáh-Chál, the Royal Theater's sumptuous magnificence surpassed that of Europe's greatest opera houses in the opinion of many Western visitors. It is comparable to Verona Arena, Samuel Greene Wheeler Benjamin told at his first visit.
Karim Pirnia has introduced Hossein-Ali Mehrin as the architect of this building.Thuluth
Thuluth (Persian: ثلث sols, Turkish: Sülüs, from Arabic: ثلث ṯuluṯ "one-third") is a script variety of Islamic calligraphy invented by Ibn Muqlah Shirazi. The straight angular forms of Kufic were replaced in the new script by curved and oblique lines. In Thuluth, one-third of each letter slopes, from which the name (meaning "a third" in Arabic) comes. An alternative theory to the meaning is that the smallest width of the letter is one third of the widest part. It is an elegant, cursive script, used in medieval times on mosque decorations. Various calligraphic styles evolved from Thuluth through slight changes of form.
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