Teahouse painting raises funds for building school in Khuzestan 

October 10, 2020 - 17:49

TEHRAN – A teahouse painting has been sold at Tehran’s Resaneh (Media) Cultural Center to raise funds for building a school in Khuzestan.

Artist Mohammadreza Mohammad-Hossein created the painting named “That My Peace of Soul Is Going” before the people in the courtyard of the center over the past 40 days.

The huge teahouse painting depicting the tragedy of Ashura has been purchased by a donor at 10,000,000,000 rials (about $33,300 - $1=300,430 rials). The money will be allocated to construction of a small school in the town of Gotvand, Khuzestan Province, the center announced on Saturday.

Mohammad-Hossein began drawing the artwork on Muharram 2. Shia Muslims commemorate the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions with rituals that begin every year from the first day of Muharram.

The rituals reach their climax on Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram, the day upon which Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions were martyred in Karbala as a result of their valiant stand against the injustices of the oppressive Umayyad dynasty in 680 CE. 

The painting was sent to the northwestern Iranian town of Maku in West Azerbaijan Province to display in a Husseinieh, a place for seasonal Islamic rituals.

Mohammad-Hossein has said that he created the artwork to show his respect to his teacher Abbas Bolukifar, a pioneer of Iranian teahouse painting.

He has portrayed stories about Ashura in over 20 huge teahouse paintings, which are on display at various religious centers across Tehran.  

“As a painter, it is my duty to preserve this heritage,” he stated and added, “People like Hazrat Zeinab (SA) [sister of Imam Hussein (AS)] have made us aware and we also should be active in this way to preserve the tragedy of Ashura and transfer this legacy to other generations.”

The teahouse has had various functions in different eras during its 400-year history in Iran. Teahouses used to be places where people gathered to spend their leisure time listening to a naqqal, an Iranian traditional storyteller, narrating stories from Ferdowsi’s Shahnameh. People talked and exchanged views, and along with lutis, wise and generous people, helped poor people.

Teahouse painters emerged in such an atmosphere. They listened to the discussions and tales, using them as subjects for the paintings they drew on the walls, tiles, stones and canvases. Sometimes, teahouse owners commissioned the painters to draw the stories.

With their own unique perspective not used in other styles, teahouse painters drew motifs entirely based on their imagination. The themes of such paintings are epics, traditions and religion. 

Photo: “That My Peace of Soul Is Going” by Mohammadreza Mohammad-Hossein.


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