Ashura tragedy to come to life as teahouse painting 

July 29, 2022 - 18:49

TEHRAN – Another image of the Ashura tragedy will be put on canvas in an art project beginning Saturday evening at Tehran’s Resaneh Cultural Center.

Mohammadreza Mohammad-Hossein, a student of the Iranian teahouse painting master Abbas Bolukifar, plans to recreate the image live in a huge oil painting.   

Titled “That My Peace of Soul Is Going”, the art project will be done before the people in the courtyard of the cultural center over ten days, during which Shia Muslims perform mourning rituals in memory of the martyrdom anniversary of Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions.

The painting will be put on sale in an auction to raise funds for building a school in a deprived city in the country.

Mohammad-Hossein has previously created over 20 teahouse paintings exclusive to centers for seasonal Islamic rituals such as Tajrish Tekyeh in Tehran. He has also showcased his works in over 10 solo exhibitions in the city.

This is the second edition of the art project “That My Peace of Soul Is Going”, the first of which was carried out at the center in 2020.

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 the Imam and his companions were martyred in Karbala due to their valiant stand against the injustices of the oppressive Umayyad dynasty in 680 CE.

Numerous stories about the battle of Ashura have been illustrated by Iranian teahouse painters over the past two decades.

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: A poster for the second edition of the art project “That My Peace of Soul Is Going”.

MMS/YAW

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