A Study of the Islamic Stone Works in Tabriz Armenians Cemetery

Document Type : Research Article



The Study of manifest and covert qualities of historical cemeteries with the purpose of understanding a part of orders and relations in past societies is important for the art history researchers. Through reflection on the environmental qualities of these areas and also study of the dispersed cultural materials in their environment, can help us understand the unknown about the background of Iranian societies and their dominant thought patterns. But if from the beginning, the semantic structure of such premises has been constructed based on conflicting or contradictory elements, their semantic analyses faces a great challenge in its course. Since in order to uncover the truth, many obstacles should be identified and cleared away. Given that, the present paper reviews the interesting co-existence of Islamic and Christian cultural materials in Tabriz Armenian cemetery. Many Islamic gravestones related to the era between the seventh and ninth centuries AH as well as many Islamic carvings and reliefs, especially those created during Il-Khani era, exist alongside the Armenian gravestones. The proximity of artworks from two different ideologies (Islamic and Christian) in this cemetery has created a rather chaotic condition since this amalgamation of varied works, styles and implications of the history is quite heterogeneous. The “why” and “how” of this condition is the main question of this paper. Through historical descriptive method, it is explained that environmental quality of the cemetery is the result of a historical process in which, some Islamic cultural material were relocated from their original context to another (the Armenians cemetery). It needs to be mentioned that while the primary objective of this paper is demystification of the mentioned issue, it attains two more achievements: first, resolving some scientific loopholes about these historical sites, and second, identifying some of the construction materials used in the historical structures of Tabriz province during seventh and ninth centuries AH. Furthermore, the paper first analyzes the formation process of the cemetery and then proceeds to answer the question about the existence of Islamic cultural works in the cemetery.