عنوان مقاله [English]
The proposed functions for some of the interior elements in the Sassanid fire temples have been always based on the finds in the western regions of Iran, while the same materials from the southern Iran have been neglected. The discovered stone and plaster bases which are usually interpreted as fireplaces’ bases have been observed in some sites on southern Iran, as well as several stone-plaster platforms which can give us some insightful information about the religious culture of Sassanid empire in the southern Iran. The present study tries to uncover the function of these architectural elements based on the archeological evidences from southern Iran especially eastern Fars and western Kerman and comparing them with the results obtained in other regions, written resources and also Zoroastrian traditions. The nature of the present study is historical and analytical – descriptive and the data collection method followed the field studies and library researches methods. All of the obtained and related evidences were collected and compared with the same monuments and finally the results were matched with the written sources and Zoroastrian traditions. The results of the present research revealed that probably the stone – plaster platforms in the religious Sassanid sites in southern Iran are the equivalent of the plaster bases or platforms discovered in Sassanid fire temples in western Iran, known as the T-form platforms. Their function can be related to Yazišn and their surrounding space can be interpreted as the yazišngāh or urwīsgāh. The present study attempts to make a logical connection between the archeological evidences and written resources in order to identify the function of the interior architectural elements inside Sassanid fire temples.
Keywords: Sassanid Period, Religious Structures, Fars, Kerman, Platform.
The Sassanid written resources do not provide many information about the religious rituals in the sanctuaries and temples. The archeological evidences are not enough to answer all the ambiguities and questions. Therefore, we decided to compare the archeological evidences with the written Zoroastrian texts during Islamic period and also matching the archeological finds with the current Zoroastrian traditions, because regardless of the differences between the today’s Zoroastrianism and Sassanid Period’s Zoroastrianism, we can witness some similarities between them. Despite all of the theories about the interior architectural elements in religious Sassanid monuments, the main religious regions during Sassanid era, i.e. Fars province and Kerman province were neglected and most of the researches in this regard were focused on the western Iran. The authors of the present study tried to focus on the recent discoveries in eastern Fars and western Kerman such as Tang-e ChakChak, Mil-e Naqareh, SoltanAbad-e Darabagh and AliAbad-e Shamshirbor, and the results of field studies and their comparison with archeological evidences from similar regions in Eslamabad-e Gharb and Takht-e Soleiman. Later all of these evidences and discoveries were studied during a library research with the written resources and Zoroastrian traditions in order to functionally interpret the discovered elements and shed lights on the inner complexities of Sassanid religious structures. The preset study focused on answering some basic questions regarding the interior elements of Sassanid Chahar-Taqi. First is the extended of overlap between the discovered architectural elements in eastern Fars and Western Kerman with the architectural elements discovered in adjacent regions; second, can we equalize them with the platform structures discovered in the western Iran from the functional point of view? And finally, in case of matching the discoveries in the two mentioned regions and considering them equivalent, what would be the function of the spaces with these types of platforms? One of the possible hypotheses is that, the stone elements discovered in the surrounding area are similar to the complementary elements of the discovered structures in the studied Chahar-Taqis or fire temples and today there is no trace of them left behind. It is also probable that the discovered platforms in the southern region of Iran have had the same functional as their discovered equivalent in western regions of Iran. And finally, they were functioning as the yazišngāh during Sassanid period.
The common points between the discoveries in eastern Fars and western Kerman and the evidences obtained from Takht-e Soleiman and Eslamabad-e Gharb is that in all them the platform have been extended until the center of the cruciform space, therefore these structure are different from other sites such as Vigol where the platform is built beside the closed vaults. Based on the discoveries from Eslamabad-e Gharb and those in southern Iran, we can conclude that the location and the situation of the T-shape platforms are equivalent with the rectangular platforms in Fars and Kerman which had an extended section from the vault until the middle of the Chahar-Taqi. Also the T-shape platforms of western Iran are shorter than their equivalent in southern Iran, but based on Rezvani’s report that states the bases were fixed on the platform of Shiyan fire temple, we can conclude that the plaster bases and platform were the features of a unique architectural element and they should not be considered separately. Therefore, we can consider the T-shaped platforms to be higher and with regard to the two first hypotheses of Moradi, the upper section of these platforms were flat and had a similar function to the rectangular platforms in the southern regions of Iran. Based on the shape of the current yazišngāh, we can compare their triple platforms with the rectangular or T-shape platforms with a fireplace’s base and a similar function; so that, in the rectangular platform, the Zoti Khwan and Alat khwan sections are the same and in the T-shape platforms the upper section is Zoti Khwan and the attached section to the vase of fireplace can be the Alat khwan. However, regarding the architectural differences of urwīsgāh in today’s fire temples with the architectural space B in Takht-e Soleiman, we can believe that the only reason for this difference is the evolutions of Zoroastrian traditions due to the changes in their society as the religious minorities during the first centuries of Islamic period.
The results of this study revealed that the architectural elements such as the platforms discovered in Fars and Kerman provinces by the authors of this study, named as rectangular platforms, have had a completely unique function similar to the T-form platforms discovered in the western Iran. We also believe that the stone cubes discovered during a field survey in southern Fars region and Persian Gulf coast, were the complementary part of the rectangular bases which probable were the platforms or ponds, already identified in the architectural space B in Takht-e Soleiman and Eslamabad-e Gharb’s sites. In order to understand and comprehend the function of the platform mentioned in this study, we matched them with the references in written resources such as the Rivayat-e Darab Hormozdyar and also the current Zoroastrian sanctuaries, as well as the comparison with the stone tables in the urwīsgāh. Finally, we concluded that, the Chahar-Taqi (fire temples) with these platforms were probably functioning as the urwīsgāh during Sassanid period. However, the current differences between the architectural structures of contemporary urwīsgāh and Sassanid Chahar-Taqi, can be attributed to the passage of time and the conducted changes in the Islamic period, when the Zoroastrians turned from the majority of the population to the minority of the population, and faced some restrictions and limitations forced by the Muslim majority.