Overview

In the last 70 years, Iranian society has greatly changed and in this regard Iranian nomadic societies, like any other small-scale societies of Iran, have changed enormously. This trend of change mainly relates to the decision-making policies of the central government of Iran regarding the mode of life of nomads. In addition, the general modernisation of Iran during the last centuries can be considered as the other important factor in the generation and the acceleration of this change. With this perspective, any research aiming at investigating and preserving the history of nomads’ societies in Iran will be of great significance at this section in time.

Since the 1990s I have focused on the study of the Bakhtiari sacred landscape which includes: lion tombstones and their environment, cemeteries, saints’ shrines and other sacred and pilgrimages sites, and also the relationship between pastoral nomads and their sacred and mortuary landscape. In addition I am also interested in other Bakhtiari mortuary traditions such as funeral ceremonies, related songs and lamentations, oral traditions and sacred material culture.

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Lali Plain, Khuzistan © P. Khosronejad, 1993

The Bakhtiari are one of the most important nomadic groups of Iran who have had a long term connection and influence on the politics of Iran during the last three centuries. Nevertheless, in the history of Iran, there has always been mention of significant Bakhtiari figures, elites and supreme chiefs and not the Bakhtiari nomads themselves. Unfortunately, we have hardly any western sources and information about Bakhtiari nomads’ religious beliefs, ceremonies and oral traditions in Iran; among the very few are the articles of D. Brooks (1940-1994).

Tang-i Hati, Lali Plain, Khuzestan © P. Khosronejad, 2003

Tangi  Hatti, Lali Plain, Khuzistan © P. Khosronejad, 2003

 

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