عنوان مقاله [English]
According to religious beliefs, cultures and geographies of each region of Iran, different gravestones have been used in various shapes and sizes during different Islamic times. These include standing tombstone, altar tombstone, simple standing tombstone, masonry tombstone, cradle tombstone, ram-shaped tombstone, rock valves, horse-shaped tombstone and others. The stone rams are The most important of these types of gravestones in terms of their semantics and mythical beliefs that are commonly found in the western half of Iran and especially in northwest and western Iran. Studying this group of tombstones can lead to the revelation and discovery of the concepts of these valuable works in Iranian-Islamic art and ultimately to the achievement of the following goals and Questions:
1. Study of the stone rams of the cemeteries of Iran
2. Symbolology and study of the archeology of the stone rams
3. Study of the designs and motifs on the stone rams
In which Geographical area and which period of time stone rams were used?
What is the relationship between popular belief in stone rams and understanding and symbolism before Islam?
The current research is conducted using library research method and field studies as well as analytical-comparative method to trace semantics, ancient archetypes, as well as the etymology of belief in the design of the ram in Islamic gravestones of Iran, through following it up in prehistoric and historical periods, and seeks a rational answer to the above-mentioned questions.
The prior Studies show that stone rams are mostly found in the western Iran and most of them belong to the ninth and tenth centuries AH, except for a few. The ram in ancient Iran has been a symbol of fertility, and a sign of a lord in connection with the god of victory, Bahram. Placing the design of a ram, in the form of a tombstone on Islamic-era graves, means arriving at the wisdom and symbolizing the transformation of the deceased. According to the beliefs of the people, the presence of stone rams in the cemeteries prevented demons from entering, and using them as abstract appearances, symbolized the valor and bravery of the Iranian brave men as well as indicating their masculinity, power and courage. The design of ram or rock ram, in turn, is rooted in ancient patterns, beliefs and old ideas. It should be noted that the insights, that have been used in the use of the design of the ram or other creatures in the gravestones and other arts of this period, have been based on a transcendental vision, thought and belief, that sometimes in accordance with the same thoughts and sometimes going on with symbolism and new meanings, have been reused by Islamic artists. Therefore, design of each ram and stone ram placed on the graves of the Islamic era, had a meaning behind them that relates to the beliefs and religious imaginations or culture of the peoples of the region. The use of stone rams in cemeteries and religious sites is actually a revival of beliefs that existed in the past, but in the Islamic era, according to the Islamic vision, some of their meanings have been forgotten. Others have been accepted along with new symbols and beliefs. The stone rams are a symbol of masonry art and very artistic stone carving of various Islamic eras, most of which have been identified in the Qaraqoyunlu and Agh Qiyunluo-ruled territories. Surveys show that, the ram-shaped gravestone was present in the times before these two governments and afterwards, and used in cemeteries and on graves. So the idea of using stone rams on the graves of the dead is rooted in ancient times. According to studies, stone rams are mostly used in cemeteries in the northwest and west of Iran, and generally in the western part of Iran. These works, while there are few specimens of which left from an older era, have been used extensively in the 9th and 10th centuries. These rams are usually placed on the tombs of heroes and alongside religious sites, which imply meanings that the most functional and symbolic of this category of works have been greatness, power, boldness, bravery and even theology. Naming the ram for the champions is still common in Azerbaijan, such as Quch Ali, Quchi Nabi, Quch Qur Gogli, and so on. One of the oldest ceremonies in the region has been the fight against the rams, and they believe that the rams are a symbol of struggle and heroism. Nowadays, horns are also seen on the gates of some urban homes, especially in Iranian villages in other parts of the country, including Gorgan, Yazd, Khoy and Ilam. They use it to prevent evil eye (scar or saline eye) and as a sign of strength and wealth.