Seven Boughs of the Chenar
“One said that out in Kashmir
There is no shortage of beauty
That land is the place of gorgeous faces
In goodness is an envy of the heaven above”
Nizami Ganjavi (12th century AD)
By staying in Kashmir, even for a short while, one can easily observe the clues of deep cultural relations between Iran and Kashmir. Mosques, Khaniqahs (Sufis’ gathering place), Imams’ descendant’s shrines, many Chenars, poems, words, Persian names, and many other things with Iranian complexion are abundantly seen here and there. Seven hundred years ago, great Sufis and Sages such as Seyyed Bulbul Shah Sohrevardi and Seyyed Ali Hamedani, along with seven hundred Sufis and erudite people migrated to Kashmir. At that time this peaceful beautiful land with its unbelievable nature was the cradle of the sacred and ascetic people and yogis who practiced hard abstentions. Kashmiris have a natural inclination for Sufism and mysticism and are very elegant and possess a delicate imagination, this may partly be for the environment in which they live and partly for the impact of Buddhism. Perhaps the main reason for Moslem Sufis to migrate to Kashmir has been finding a unique land with wonderful characteristics for contemplation and introducing Islamic mysticism.
Seven Boughs of the Chenar is a photo-installation project I have done during the Khoj International Artists’ Workshop in Srinagar, Kashmir, in 2007. The installation included seven photos hanged from the boughs of a Chenar in the workshop site. The photos were a collage of the photos I photographed from the places which historically are related to Iranians, and Persian miniature paintings from the same era of the significant Iranian migration to Kashmir.
* Chenar is a Persian name for the Oriental Plane tree.
Seven Boughs of the Chenar, India, 2007 © Tooraj Khamenehzadeh