Symbolism of Ducks Motif in Iran’s Artworks

Article Type:
Research/Original Article (بدون رتبه معتبر)

Iranian art is a symbolic and mystical reflection of realities and truths. Mythological-symbolic culture of Iran is closely related to the nature and earthly and heavenly elements of it. Since time immemorial, the agricultural life conditions across Iran have always forced people to be dependent on water and as a result this has led to the consecration of this sacred element. Presence of the elements related to water, like plants and birds, and particularly ducks, in various eras of the history of art in Iran, bespeaks of the colorfulness of the nature-grounded beliefs by Iranians. Since the motif of this bird has become manifested in arts in the Sassanid era and in the heydays of worship of Anahita (Goddess of World Waters), one can raise the hypothesis that duck is a symbol of Anahita, the goddess of fertility and pure waters. On the other hand, given the historical past, duck could have been used as a motif representing a bird that was found in countless numbers in Iran’s canebrakes and considered to be an indigenous species in the region. The motif of duck can be seen on containers and objects in decorative and applied arts of Iranians and its continuation in the Islamic era to Safavid era is visible. This motif has been repeated in the history for several times but no independent study has yet undertaken the explanation of its continuous presence. In this article, after a short review and identification of the motif of duck in each era we have sought to answer the question what changes have been made to the meaning and form of motif of duck in the art of Iranian people from the ancient times up to the Islamic era. This study is of theoretical and exploratory type and it drew upon a descriptive and analytic method to analyze the data collected through library and electronic sources which contain the pictures of ducks in decorative and applied arts of various historical eras. It seems that artists have had a realistic view of the ducks in the beginning and they would picture what they saw in their surrounding environment and in the course of time the motif of ducks has turned to a symbol with a spiritual and royal content insofar as at the climax of this process the duck has been pictured as a goddess. Finally, after a while and following the developments occurred in the beliefs of people, it has declined to a mere decorative motif.

Journal of Art and Civilization of the Orient, Volume:7 Issue: 26, 2019
21 to 30  
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