عنوان مقاله [English]
Throughout history, the land of Iran has been home to various ethnicities and religions. This proximity to the Armenian Christians, from the Safavid era onwards, has been well reflected in their Masonry art and has led to the creation of common artistic elements. Evidence to this claim is the Armenian historical and illustrative tombstones in the village of Khoygan Olya of Fereydounshahr in Isfahan. One of the most important things that always have secrets from the depths of history are the writings and drawings of the tombs that tell about beliefs and thoughts. Treasures, that like a written document, contain many hidden truths. In the village of Khoygan Olya in Fereydunshahr, there are four historical cemeteries in three places of the village; called the lower neighborhood, the middle neighborhood and the upper neighborhood, which is for the burial of the Armenians in the region. Of these four cemeteries that have been nationally registered, three cemeteries have the most tombstone motifs, many of which are common in the cemeteries, and in some cases, each cemetery has its own motifs. The existence of three churches in this village is one of the unique cases in Iran, which itself indicates the growth of art and architecture in this region. The time period and antiquity of the illustrated graves that are the subject of research is from the Qajar era onwards, and the date of some of the few examples, which often have only an inscription and do not have any painting, dates back to the Safavid period.
The treasure of unknown motifs of the four historical Armenian cemeteries of this village can be divided into two categories: illustrations and inscriptions. The aim is to recognize the various signs and symbols of the past Armenians of the region. These signs in the form of engravings on tombstones contain unspoken facts from the depths of history. This research is an attempt to find answers to these questions: 1- What are the visual signs of Armenian tombstones in the Khoygan Olya’s cemeteries of Fereydunshahr? 2- What are the technical, aesthetic and conceptual features of the Armenian tombstones of Khoygan Olya? The research method is descriptive-analytical and the method of collecting information is a combination of library-documentary and field resources and the method of data analysis is qualitative. The results of the research show that the motifs of these tombs include all kinds of human, animal, plant, symbolic motifs and livelihoods of the people of the time.
The theme of the motifs can be explored in several groups of decorative, religious and practical tools; decorative in order to beautify the tombstone, religious including motifs related to the religion of Christianity and practical tools such as tools and means of livelihood of the deceased. These motifs are surrounded by architectural elements. This architectural space includes elements such as columns, capitals and arches, which are rooted in Armenian art and architecture. In many cases, people stand on a flat platform in group formation. In fact, the cemeteries of the region can be called an exhibition of stone portraits. The motif of the couple (husband and wife) and the motif of occupations such as carpet weaving are also found in abundance. By the number of human images, the motifs show that the graves are one-person, two-person, three-person and sometimes four-person.
Animal motifs are more limited in number and variety than other motifs and mostly include animals such as rams, horses, and pigeons. The pattern of the tree of life is the most significant plant of the tombs of the region. In terms of construction techniques, unlike most Muslim tombstones, these works are mostly horizontal; large monolithic cubic stones that are sometimes not more than half a meter high in the ground and are placed on it. Patterns are seen on the horizontal surface and sometimes on the vertical surface of the cube’s wall. The general characteristics of the Christian sculptural art of the region include: looking from the front or the whole image (full body and legs in profile), big eyes, joined eyebrows, showing hand gestures, attention to detail, gender distinction and induction of transcendental and religious atmosphere. Narration and showing jobs are of special importance in these graves.
The types of concepts in the tombstones are inspired by the life of the deceased and in fact are a reflection of the worldly and otherworldly life of the person. For example, the most frequently carved carving on tombs is the cross, and after fringes, winged angels are the most important decorative element. These motifs are entirely modeled on the special Christian Armenian ornaments found in their churches. In general, it can be said that manifestations of the art of Christian Armenian painting in the church, book decoration and painting have been depicted in all their artistic elements, including the carvings of tombstones.