A Bamboo cart to the source of the Karun

Major Herbert Sawyer was an Indian Army officer who, in 1890, carried out a geographical-military reconnaissance in West Persia, including a mapping of the Bakhtiari territories.  Even though a detailed version of his map was publicly available in 1894 (click here and scroll down); copies in the India Office collection (now in the British Library) …

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Ladies in Bakhtiariland – and the Constitutional Revolution

Dr Elisabeth Macbean Ross (author of the renowned ‘A Lady Doctor in Bakhtiariland’) was the physician for the “Bibis or great ladies, wives, sisters and mothers of the leading [Bakhtiari] Khans” for around four years from 1910.  She usually visited each of the many “Gha[l]ehs or castles” for several weeks, and there “enjoyed the almost …

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Jaffer Kuli Khan . . Ja’far Quli Khan . . Jafar Gholi Khan . . Jaf’r Quli Khan

Recently I introduced you to Sattara Khanum, and her husband Jaffer Kuli Khan (Sitara and Ja’far Quli Khan in Lorimer’s translated Duraki/Behdarwand poem). The puzzle in the posting this week is a salutary lesson in careful reading of transliterated names and also, perhaps, in not believing everything that even the most renowned authors write  – …

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Sattara Khanum – and her velvet tresses

This week – something special for my Bakhtiari subscribers.  An extra welcome to you all! My posting on Bakhtiari poetry recitations mentioned how the people and places in one of the poems on this website (on the battle of the Duraki and Behdarwand) are, according to their translator DLR Lorimer, traceable in Henry Layard’s book …

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Musulman and Kafir lions: ‘O cat of Ali’

The famous Bakhtiari lion gravestones were recorded by the earliest of the European travellers (the line-drawing below was published in 1891) – and they are now being analysed and recorded more formally. When I very first saw them, at dusk on the way northwards from Lali up into the mountains, I was SO excited – …

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Henry Layard – and Bakhtiari poetry

I’ve been re-reading Henry Layard’s 1887 ‘Early Adventures in Persia’; after I noticed that this apparently included identifying details of the events and individuals in one of the Bakhtiari poems translated by DLR Lorimer. I was especially interested by Layard’s descriptions of Bakhtiari poetry recitations: “I frequently witnessed . . the effect which poetry had …

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