عنوان مقاله [English]
Headstones have been one of the inseparable thoughts of death among all the communities from old times to nowadays that were used as an essential tool for their visual and spiritual aspects. However, there are various points of view in creating headstones and their relative sign fields in different societies. This phenomenon had a special place in Islamic- Iranian's attitude and is created in different forms and decorative figurations. The North West area of Iran is one of the finest places for such materials and this research was done to identify, classify and analyze them in order to find answers to these following questions: what are the typology and forms of Iran's North West's headstones ? To which areas does the analysis of cognitive foundations of headstones in Iran's North West refer? How many categories may be designated for the decorative figurations of these headstones? This research is using descriptive- analytical method along with several documents and field studies for recording some Islamic-era graveyards of Iran's North West. The result of this research indicates that regarding the shape of placement, headstones are divided into three forms: horizontal, vertical and hybrid with different kinds. Some of the headstones are rooted in middle - Asian societies and have various concepts in terms of decorative arrays. Prime examples are: a) human, b) herbal, c) animal, d) geometric- symbolic, e) objects and tools. Currently, many of these monuments are damaged by mankind and nature, and just a few of them are in fine shape. Headstones are among the components of funerals and were used as an identification and indicator of date of death. It is also a great place to transfer concepts of public culture. Headstones are affected by geographical, political, social and cultural features of each area. They have a special place for mankind’s beliefs and are affected by attitudes of different people of each area. Islamic-era headstones have various decorative arrays and appearances, which present them as a great collection for studying archaeology, history, culture, art and politics of different places as well as a source of knowledge about social beliefs of people for researchers. Studying headstones from different regions of Iran indicates that they have an important place in Islamic- Iranian culture. Headstones of each region have their own specialties and Islamic- era headstones of Iran’s North West have a lot of variety among them.
The North West area of Iran in Islamic era had a good potentiality for shaping headstones fitting the religion beliefs due to existence of different groups of people. Thus, in this area, there are so many graveyards left from different periods of Islamic era, and a huge, diverse spectrum of headstones was shaped in them. However, there has been no global research in terms of appearances and figurations around typology and classification of Islamic headstones of Iran's North West region so far. Studies on headstones in terms of archeology, anthropology, linguistics, arts and other sciences are important and they need an intense, coherent focus. Accordingly, this research studies headstones in different areas of Azerbaijan in addition to classification and typology of headstones based on two aspects of appearance and decorative figuration. The elegance and variety of form and shape of the headstones of Iran's North West in Islamic era were fascinating to many researchers and visitors for a long time. However, headstones were less focused on in terms of appearances, used array and cognitive foundations, and they deserve more comprehensive and wider researches to become a specific science study field in other cases for classifying these monuments. The research has been edited based on qualitative approach and descriptive-analytical research method, and information was gathered by library and field studies. For this purpose, about 30 Islamic- era graveyards in Iran's North West were studied. That way due to scattered graveyards in the North West area, lack of registration information, and unknown samples by relevant organizations, through field studies some of monuments were recognized in Meshkin Shahr, Khalkhal, Nir, Ardabil, Sarein, Maragheh, Varzaghan, Bostanabad, Tabriz, Marand, Ahar, Miandoab and Salmas counties. In next phase, these data were classified and analyzed with qualitative methods and comparative study methods. Moreover, in this research, some pictures of graveyards in Sosava, Bijagh, Gal, Varzaghan, Sefidabad, Some’eh del and Salmas villages were selected and subsequently, schemes and figurations were designed and classified based on analyses from Corel and AutoCad software’s. In the end, we achieved a relative typology of figurations and appearances of North West headstones in Islamic era.