Mobile Ta’ziyeh in the City Scene: Semiotic Study of Mobility in Ziaber Ta’ziyeh

Document Type : Research Article


1 Professor of Semiotics and French, Faculty of Humanities, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Ph.D. Student in Theatre, Faculty of Performing Arts and Music, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.

3 M.A. in TV Production- Drama, Faculty of Production, Iran Broadcasting University, Tehran, Iran.


Problem statement: Mobile Ta’ziyeh is regarded as one of the kinds of traditional Iranian theatre in which the scenes are performed not in a permanent place, but on a certain path. The present study aims to investigate how the discourse of Ta’ziyeh is formed in connection with the displacement of spatial boundaries and how this displacement emerges as a process that turns Ta’ziyeh into a performance with transformative function. In the current article, the interaction between the discourse of Ziaber Mobile Ta’ziyeh (case study) and the discourse of the city is studied. Also, the effects of performing Ta’ziyeh on the urban areas of Ziaber are investigated semiotically.
Research objectives: The main purpose of this article is to identify the semiotic aspects of mobility in the Ta’ziyeh and its function in the transformation of urban places and spaces.
Research method: The present article has been conducted through a qualitative method based on the Paris school semiotics. The research approach is derived from post-Gremassian tradition and is the result of the transition from structuralist and classical semiotics to semiotics based on “body”, “perception” and “presence” with a phenomenological background.
Conclusion: The course of Ta’ziyeh Ziaber is formed by joining the three main locations of this city (cemetery, the main street, and house of Ayatollah Ziaberi). By examining the mobile nature of this Ta’ziyeh, it becomes clear how the mentioned places became narrative and move away from their previous functions and roles so that this cause transforms of places, spaces and also the transcendence of the city during the performance of Ta’ziyeh.


Anderson, P. S. (2009). Transcendence and feminist philosophy. In G. Howie & J. Jobling (Eds), Women and the Divine.  New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ansari, M. (2014). Padidarshenasi-e hermenotik-e makan, heys makani-e meydan-e naghsh-e jahan [Hermeneutic phenomenology of place, the location of Naghsh Jahan Square]. Abadan: Porsesh.
Babak Moein, M. (2019). Analyzing four spatial language regimes based on interactive and semiotic regimes of Eric Landowski. Language Related Research, 10(5), 49-72.
Bakhtin, M. (2018). Problems of Dostoevsky’s poetics (S. Solhjoo, Trans.). Tehran: Niloofar Publications.
Barthes, R. (1997). Semiology and the urban. In  N. Leach (Ed.), Rethinking architecture: a reader in cultural theory. London: Routledge.
Beyzai, B. (2012). A Study on Iranian theatre. (8th ed.). Tehran: Roshangaran.
Carlson, M. (1989). Places of performance: the semiotics of theatre architecture. New York: Cornell University Press.
Chelkowski, P. (1991). Hengami ke na zaman zaman ast va na makan makan [When neither time is time nor place is place]. Iran-Nameh Magazine, (34), 212-222.
Eliade, M. (2010). Patterns in comparative religion (J. Sattari Trans.). (3rd ed.). Tehran: Soroush Publications.
Fakouhi, N. (2019). Urban anthropology. (12th ed.). Tehran: Nashr-e Ney.
Fontanille, J. (1989). Les espaces subjectifs: introduction à la sémiotique de l’observateur. Paris: Hachette.
Greimas, A. J. & Courtes, J. (1982). Semiotics and language: an analytical dictionary. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Hendrix, H. V., Slusser, G. & Rabkin S., R. (2011). Visions of mars: essays on the red planet in fiction and science. North Carolina: McFarland.
Hossain, Sh. (1995). Ta’zia, Ephemeral Architecture in India (A. Etemadi Trans.). In L.Taghian,  (Eds.), About ta’ziyeh and Theater in Iran. Tehran: Nashre Markaz.
Karimzadeh, S., Etesam, I.; Foroutan, M. & Dolati, M. (2018). Architecture narration: a comparative study on narration in architecture and story. Kimiya-ye-Honar, 7(28), 93-107.
Khaki, M. R. (2005). Barresi va bazshenasi makan-e sahne-ei dar namayesh-ha-ye sonati-e Iran [Investigating and recognizing of the stage in Iranian traditional plays]. Theater Quarterly, (39), 212-222.
Landowski, E. (2010). Régimes d’espace. Actes Sémiotiques, N° 113.
Martin, B. & Ringham, F. (2006). Key terms in semiotics. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing.
McCaw, D. (2015). Bakhtin and theatre: dialogues with Stanislavski, Meyerhold and Grotowski. London: Routledge.
Mirshokraei, M. (2009). Ta’ziyeh va ayin-ha-ye ashurayi [Ta’ziyeh and Ashura rituals]. Tehran: Namayesh Publications.
Nedaei, A. H. (2015). Zaman va makan-e ghodsi dar honar-e ashurayi [Holy time and place in Ashura arts]. Conference proceedings of the 2nd International congress on Islamic humanities. Tehran: Supreme Assembly of Islamic Humanities.
Partovi, P. (2015). Phenomenology of place. (3rd ed.). Tehran: Farhangestan-e Honar.
Peterson, S. R. (1988). The Ta’ziyeh and related arts (D. Hatami Trans.). In P. Chelkowski  (eds.), Taʻziyeh, Ritual and Drama in Iran. Tehran: Elmi Farhangi.
Pierce, Ch. S. (1931-1935). The Collected papers. In: Weiss, P., Hartshorne, C. (eds). Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Sattari, J. (2015). The Background of Taziyeh and theatre in Iran. Tehran: Nashre Markaz.
Shairi, H.R. & Vafaei, T. (2010). A Road to fluid semiotics. Tehran: Elmi Farhangi.
Shairi, H.R. (2012). Noe shenasi-ye makan va naghsh-e an dar tolid va tahdid-e mana [Typology of place and its role in the production and threat of meaning]. In F. Sasani (Eds.), Collection of place semiotics articles. Tehran: Sokhan.
Shairi, H.R. (2013). Visual semiotics, theories and practices. Tehran: Sokhan.
Short, T. L. (2007). Peirce’s theory of signs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rahimi, B. (2012). Theater state and the formation of early modern public sphere in Iran. Leiden: Brill Publisher.
Rochow, K. & Stahl, G. (2017). The Scene and the unseen: mapping the (affective) rhythms of Wellington and Copenhagen. Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, 7(2), 124-141.
Samiei, A., Zeinedin, S. & Aleyasin, A. (2017). An Investigation of the mutual structural and formal influences of the body of Arak’s roofed bazaar on the formation of mobile Ta’zieh in Arak. Scientific Journal of Pazhuhesh-e Honar, 7(13), 85-93.
Sarsangi, M. (2013). Theatrical environment & actor-audience relationship in religious drama. Tehran: Afraz.
Sarsangi, M. (2015). Street theater and its relationship with urban Spaces. Bagh- e Nazar, 12(34), 37-48.
Soheili, J. & Mohajerpour, N. (2016). Recognition the implications of the semiotic body type in Iranian theater: Taziyeh. Armanshahr Architecture & Urban Development, 8(15), 59-69.