عنوان مقاله [English]
Mina’i pottery is a reflection of archetypal systems in the Medieval Islamic dynasty and a source of inspiration for Persian painting in the next periods. In this research, the archetypal appearance of the dragon-killing on Mina’i has been investigated. Structure and sources of the ancient dragon-slaying topic that has been reflected on Mina’i are considered with descriptive and analytic methods. The hypothesis of this research is that before the appearance of dragon-slaying in Islamic manuscripts, its images were found in Mina’i. The present study tries to answer the following questions: In what sense, were the first ancient signs or concepts of dragon-slaying formed? What are the ancient and intercultural concepts influencing the formation of the dragon-slaying theme on Mina’i ware? One of the aims of the research is to achieve the fundamental images, ancient concepts and intercultural influences in the formation of the dragon-killing theme in the Islamic era. So comparative study on 5 Mina’i and 8 pre-Islamic cultural data from Mesopotamia and ancient Iran has done to consider contents and forms of snakelike dragon motifs. The results demonstrate that although many of archeological evidences in the field of dragon-slaying are found in ancient texts and documents, but the oldest examples of pictorial dragon-slaying are attributed to Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC, which shows the defeat of the hero with the seven-headed dragon. Other results of the research indicate that, in terms of dragon-slaying themes, the Hasanlu Bowl can be considered the most complete battle between the dragon and the hero that fights the dragon and releases the water that fertilizes. More than a century later, dragon-slaying is depicted in Great patriarchal Shāhnāme. Almost a thousand years later, after transformation in forms and concepts in this battle happens or even if has been removed from the minds, it can be seen in the 6th AH on Mina’i and maybe under the influence of Shāhnāme.
Archetype is a predisposition to perceive the world in certain ways that are inherited from past generations; not a specific idea or belief. Is much the same across different cultures (a “universal thought form”) and is in the collective unconscious. Archetypes include the anima, animus, shadow, persona, hero various animals, the self and etc. (Ewen, 2014: 62). The presence of the archetype’s concepts can be seen in many visual art and artifact that remains from different historical eras. Since ancient times, dragons were seen as the fantastical embodiment of chaosو evil, and drought. They seem to be an important part of legends and myths in almost every culture ever (except china) since the cradle of civilization to the Islamic dynasty. A hero who symbolically kills a Dragon is a mythological concepts witch had higher meaning during historical ages in many cultures around the world that can be seen in literature, belief, and religion in the form of inscription, Motifs, and artifacts. It is indeed evident that the various dragon-slaying myths in several cultures influenced each other repeatedly and in all directions, each society building its own myth out of various components in a manner unique and particular. In this archetypal transition, some concepts are changed, omitted, forgotten, or even a new purpose for dragon-slaying is determined. In previously published researches, have specifically addressed the mythological studies on dragon meaning with an emphasis on ancient documents such as Mesopotamian manuscripts, Zoroastrian writings, and Shāhnāme Firdausi that have been limited to Transformation and even forgetting the concepts on Islamic samples such as Mina’i ceramics. Additional studies have examined Mina’i with a focus on patterns, inscription, and themes or reflation of Persian literature on Mina’i motifs. This paper focuses on aspects of the representation of killing the dragon on Mina’i with an iconographical approach. The main hypothesis of this article is that for the first time in the Islamic era, dragon-slaying appears on Mina’i wares. This research is the descriptive-analytical method. One of the aims of the research is to achieve the fundamental images, ancient concepts, and intercultural influences in the formation of the dragon-killing theme in the Islamic era. Dragon-slaying on Mina’i has also been considered in comparison with ancient sources. In order to understand the content and images of dragon-slaying, motifs on Mina’i and textual and visual sources found on seals in ancient Iran and neighboring civilizations have been studied.
Results and Discussion
In this research dragon-slaying on five Mina’i ceramics has been investigated. These images are from the Vollmoeller Collection in Zurich, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, the Freer Gallery of art, and the Sarikhani Private collection. These wares are compared with 7 ancient Mesopotamian seals and the Hasanlu bowl.
In the Ilkhanid dynasty, the dragon-slaying theme first time is represented in the illustrations of the Great Mongol Shāhnāme. Mina’i pottery is believed to have originated in Seljuk, Kharazmshahid, and Ilkhanid Iran from the late twelfth to the early thirteenth century. It is possible that these concepts, before the presence of dragon-slaying in miniature painting, for the first time in the Islamic dynasty, were drawn in a form of narrative colorful miniature on Mina’i. The current research focuses on characterizing and identify the effect of archeological and archetypal evidence such as texts, images, mythological behavior, and personal mind that perhaps are the first cause of dragon-slaying appearance.
The result of this study indicates that although the visual elements of dragon-slaying have not been observed in Iran for more than a thousand years, the reflection of this archetype on various artworks shows that although this battle has been influenced by the replacement, change, and forgetting of previous elements in different historical times. The other results demonstrate that although much archeological evidence in the field of dragon-slaying is found in several ancient texts and documents, the oldest examples of pictorial dragon-slaying are attributed to Mesopotamia in the third millennium BC, which shows the defeat of the hero with the seven-headed dragon. It can be said that the presence of dragon-slaying on Mina’i is seen for the first time in the visual sources of the Islamic dynasty in Iran. This image is the same narration from ancient times but with a different meaning which is depicted based on the text of Shāhnāme.
The survey of the archetype “slaying-dragon” on Mina’i, indicates that probably before the presence of this pottery type, images of dragon killing were not available on Islamic Persian artifacts. Visual representation of a hero, as a horseman or on foot, fighting a snake-dragon (one, three, or seven-headed); It is a traditional formula and lasting arrangement from ancient times. However, in ancient times, the dragon image is scary but failed or running away, which is the focus of the image. In Mina’i, the emphasis is on the hero images and visual values but dragons are sometimes trapped under the horse’s legs. In all of the archaeological finds in this research (Mina’i, ancient seals, and Hasanlu bowl) no related text indicates the identity of the hero and the dragon. There is speculation to identify the characters. Enamel pottery is probably not the first pictorial example of a dragon in the Islamic period, but it is one of the first pictorial sources before the appearance of the Chinese dragon in Iranian works. Although dragon-slaying reflects cultural exchanges over several thousand years, it also leaves unanswered the achievement of a definitive view of the nature of the first dragon-slaying thought.