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Paper Information

Journal:   NEGAREH   fall 2018 , Volume 13 , Number 47 #b00499; Page(s) 63 To 81.

Explaining the BottehMotif, s Characteristics Considering the Views and Opinions of the Scholars about ItsOrigin in Islamic Art and a Critique of the Cypress Tree View as the Origin of This Motif

Author(s):  Kheirollahi Aznavleh Mozhgan*, BANIARDALAN ESMAEL
* Faculty of Theoretical
Botteh motif or Paisley Pattern is of great status in the Islamic art. This motif in a variety of different types is used in Islamic artworks such as textiles, carpets, stucco, etc. During recent centuries, the variety of this motif has persuaded scholars to do research on the origin of it. None of these are comprehensive, and they cannot be attributed to all the motifs called Botteh; therefore, various new hypotheses have already been raised about the origins of this motif. They are always looking for the cause of this dispersion of opinions and trying to justify these various ideas. In this paper, by asking three questions, the quiddity of this motif and the cause of the dispersion of ideas about its origin are investigated. 1. What is the reason for the dispersion and incompleteness of the ideas about the origin of the Botteh motif? 2. If the reasons for the dispersion of ideas are motifs that are similar in appearance but have different meanings and origins, then what are the properties of a Botteh motif that distinguish it from other motifs? 3. What are the historical, cultural and artistic evidences that confirm the cypress tree as the origin of this motif? The main hypothesis of the paper is that a group of motifs with different origins is imagined alike due to similarity in form. Then all of them were named “ Botteh” which is the most known motif among these types of motifs. The second hypothesis is as follows: The origin of the Botteh motif is a kind of conifer, but it cannot be a cypress. In order to answer the research questions and to test the validity of the hypotheses, firstly the most important opinions of the researchers of the field of Islamic art studies on Botteh motifs were briefly reviewed. And then they were classified in three groups of plants, animals, and other ideas to better enable us to analyze them. In the following, the meaning of the name of this motif was studied in Lexicons. By comparison of the results of these two sections and image examples called Botteh, it is inferred that several types of motifs with various origins are imagined to be the same due to the similarity of the apparent form. In the second part, the idea of the cypress, as one of the most important opinions about the origin of the Botteh motif, is criticized. The most important outcome of this research is getting to the point that several types of motifs with different origins are considered to be the same because of their evident formal similarities. The second result of this research is suggestion of some distinctive properties for the Botteh motif. Some of them are as follows: The first property is the conical shape of the motif. The second property, according to the meaning of the name of this motif, is the separation of tree motifs from non-tree motifs; with the help of components and details such as stems, branches, trunks, etc. or other indications that allude to the motif of the tree. In this paper it is shown that there was no mention of the sanctity of the cypress in the old Zoroastrian scriptures until the eighteenth century. Ferdowsi's Shahnameh is the oldest book in which it was recorded. On the other hand, the precise examination of Persepolis petroglyphs shows that these trees are not of the Cupressaceae family, and it seems that they belonged to the Pinaceae family, such as the Pinus, Abies, etc. The third point, according to Parham, is regarding religious rigors in drawing of the cypress tree. Among the artworks of the Islamic era in Iran, plant motifs and various trees, including cypress, have been replicated very often. Even since the third century AH, animal and human motifs have also been used in many examples of Islamic arts. The method of research is historical-analytical and it is conducted using library resources and the internet.
Keyword(s): Botteh,Buteh,Paisley Pattern,Cypress Tree,Islamic Art
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