عنوان مقاله [English]
Nehchir Castle, located in the southwest of Isfahan province, is one of the buildings attributed to the late Safavid and Qajar periods, which was inhabited until after the Islamic Revolution. Its last remaining relics belong to two of the old Lenjan’s viceroys and their fathers. Founded by Agha Mohammad Rafi, this historical complex has been gradually expanded after him with the increase of the family population, so that Mohammad Reza Khan Nahchiri, the deputy governor of Lenjan region, had a new house in the ward. The southern part of this complex has a beautiful entrance with decorations of painting, plaster modeling and brickwork, which includes its most prominent exterior elements.
Unfortunately, due to reasons such as natural elements and human factors (fire and destruction of walls by uninformed people and theft of decorations by profiteers), this building is abandoned and has suffered serious damages. In the study of the background of this building, no source deals with its architectural decorations. Thus the main question of this research is what are the types and pictorial features of the motifs and themes used in the mural decorations in the building in question, and how have they evolved? This article uses descriptive and analytical methods. The method of collecting information is library research and field research, in terms of the latter, by visiting the mentioned castle, photographing, documenting and classifying the mural decorations based on the style of work, location and themes, the evolution of the mural decorations in the architecture of the Nehchir Castle has been studied. The findings depict that the decorations in the architecture of the Nehchir Castle are influenced by antecedent periods, especially Zand and Safavid art, because they are in accordance with the motifs of the mentioned periods in other historical buildings. Furthermore, since the studied ornaments have the characteristics of decorative art in the Qajar period, these motifs are specific to the Qajar period, which encompasses both the traditionalism of Iranian motifs and influences from European motifs.
In general, the studied motifs are classified into six categories of plant, animal, human, landscape, objects and geometric motifs, of which the floral motifs have the highest level of ornaments; sometimes abstracted in two styles such as Khatais and Eslimis (arabesques) and in some places used in a completely naturalistic way, such as red flowers and lilies. Plant motifs are also combined with other elements such as vases, mirror frames and birds. Animal motifs include partridges, ducks, parrots, pheasants and some other birds which species are unknown, while include animals such as lions and dragons as well. The role of man is also depicted in various scenarios such as recreation, hunting and daily activities in landscapes.
The evolution of mural decorations in the architecture of the Nehchir Castle was studied based on the order of construction of houses in three periods from the early Qajar to the early Pahlavi period. The decorations of the first period of "House F" are symbolically executed in an abstract style in triangular compositions with the most important elements depicted large and located in the center of the frame. In the middle of the Qajar period, "House E" was painted with more vivid floral motifs. Conversely, chicken motifs were painted in pairs and more dynamically with a wider color spectrum than in the past, and were completely decorative. In house "G", floral and chicken motifs appear in different compositions. Parrots, storks, nightingales and other birds are depicted similar to the Sassanid birds; breast to breast and face to face and so on. Abstract floral motifs are less important than naturalistic ones. In fact, the elements of a frame are combined in different planes, and landscapes cover slang themes. In the late Qajar and the early Pahlavi periods, we see symbolic motifs such as the combined depiction of the cypress tree and the dragon's head. Improvised subjects, reflecting the experiences of the painters, is also one of the special methods of mural painting of the Qajar period, and different from the common landscape painting method.
The evolution of decorations shows a decrease in their quality in terms of execution and the type of materials used from the beginning of the Qajar to the first Pahlavi periods.