The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies
(CAIS) -- A 4500-year-old cypress tree in Iran's southeastern province of Yazd is to be soon protected as one of the world's biggest living organisms.
Tree is located within the Grand Mosque of Abarqu, which originally was a
Zoroastrian Chahar Taqi (free-standing fire temple). The tree considered
by locals as sacred and according to their folklore the tree was planted by
Prophet Zarathushtra (Zoroaster).
Cypress Tree in Iranian Art and Culture
Among the symbols which the Iranians hold dear, none is as popular as the cypress tree. Innumerable qualities are attributed to this tree and its form. Whenever a Persian poet has tried to best describe the stature of his beloved one, he called her “cypress-like”, comparing her balanced poise, lithe motion and enchanting body to those of the cypress tree, and whenever he has spoken of truthfulness, uprightness and youth, he has taken the cypress tree as a model.
Believers in free thought have adopted the cypress tree as a symbol of freedom, an essence without deceit or falseness, and interpreted its barrenness as a sign of its liberty. And mystics have noted that other trees – which at times have fresh leaves and at others appear withered and bare – embody both perfection and desolation, while the cypress tree is free from the latter.
Painters and visual artists have also
focused on to the cypress tree and adopted it as one of their favorite theme.
Whenever a painter has tried to depict paradise or an idyllic realm, he has populated it with tall cypress trees, and architects, stucco-makers and tile-makers have amply utilized its form in their creations, and women have woven colorful cypress trees in their textiles or carpets. Adding the rows of cypress trees adorning the walls of Persepolis, depicted under the guard of Persian soldiers, to the cypress trees remaining from the
post-Sasanian period, one realizes the eternality of the cypress tree in Iranian culture, and becomes even more eager to discover the secret of this eternality. In this quest, one comes across more historic events related to the cypress tree.
cypress tree of Zoroaster was never forgotten by the Iranians. On the contrary,
its memory grew ever stronger with the passage of time and poets and artists
kept depicting it in their works. With the advent of the Safavid dynasty, and
the ensuing reversion to Iranian national themes, the cypress tree of Zoroaster
acquired further importance, but, owing to religious and political
considerations, the name of Zoroaster was discarded and only its form was
Relevant article: The Cypress of Kashmar and Zoroaster
Copyright © 1998-2015 The Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS)