Depending on region, time, occasion, religion, etc. the word can signify different cultural meanings and practices:
- In Persian cultural reference it is a kind of Condolence Theater inspired by historical and religious events, symbolize epic spirit and resistance.
- In reference to Iranian Shiism it is a kind of Passion Play on the tragic fate of Hassan and Hussein.
- In Indian Subcontinent it refers specifically to the Miniature Mausoleums (imitations of the mausolems of Karbala, generally made of coloured paper and bamboo) used in ritual processions held in the month of Muharram.
Ta'zieh in Persian culture
|The ritual dramatic art of Ta‘zīye *|
|Region **||Asia and Australasia|
In Persian culture it refers to condolence theater and Naqqali which are traditional Persian theatrical genres in which the drama is conveyed wholly or predominantly through music and singing. It dates before the Islamic era and the tragedy of Saiawush in Shahnameh is one of the best examples.
In Persian tradition, Tazieh and Parde-khani, inspired by historical and religious events, symbolize epic spirit and resistance. The common theme is the heroic tales of love and sacrifice, and of resistance against the evil.
While in the west the two major genres of dramas have been comedy and tragedy, in Persia (Iran), Tazieh seems to be the dominant genre. Considered as Persian opera, Tazieh resembles the European opera in many respects.
Persian cinema and Persian symphonic music have been influenced by the long tradition of Tazieh in Iran. Abbas Kiarostami, famous Iranian film maker, made a documentary movie entitled "A Look to Tazieh" in which he explores the relationship of the audience to this theatrical form. Nasser Taghvaee also made a documentary entitled "Tamrin e Akhar" on Tazieh.
Ta'zïye in Iranian Shiism
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|Imam of Islam
The appearance of the characteristic dramatic form of Persia known as the Ta‘zvye, in essence an expiation ritual, coincided with the emergence of Shiism. According to Ibn Kathir, it appeared in the reign of Mu'izz ad-Dawla, the king of Buyid dynasty, in 963. As soon as the Safavid Dynasty was established in Persia in 1501 and the Shiism of the Twelvers adopted as the official sect, the state took interest in theater as a tool of propagating Shiism.
Ta'zīya in Indian Subcontinent
In Indian Subcontinent, where dramatic commemorations are less significant, ta'zīya came to refer specifically to the miniature mausoleums used in ritual processions held in the month of Muharram. As Indian Shi'a were not able to travel the long distance to the holy city of Kerbala, whether for burial or pilgrimage, they built replicas of Imam Hussein's mausoleum in India, which they called ta'zīya, and carried them in processions. Thousands of ta'zīyas in various shapes and sizes are fashioned every year for the months of mourning of Muharram and Safar. They are carried in processions and may be buried at the end of Ashoura or Arbain.
The ta'zīya displayed by Nawab of Awadh of Lucknow during the mourning of Muharram used to be composed of green-glass, with or-molu (brass moldings). Some were of ivory, sandalwood, cedar or of wrought filligree silver. Those for the poor were used to be of coloured talc.
Numerous local traditions of ta'zīya construction have emerged over the centuries. Ta'zīyas vary in shape and size according to region. Although some were originally made of precious materials for royal and wealthy patrons, to be housed permanently, the majority of ta'zīyas are of kind of "disposable sacred art". Such disposable structures predominate on the popular level today. Materials used to build ta'zīyas include wood and bamboo for the frame and paper, tin foil, mica and glass for the ornamental exterior.
This art of a bamboo and paper mausoleum has reached,
Tabuik made from bamboo, rattan and paper is a local manifestation of the Remembrance of Muharram among the Minangkabau people in the coastal regions of West Sumatra, Indonesia, particularly in the city of Pariaman culminates with practice of throwing a tabuik into the sea has taken place every year in Pariaman on the 10th of Muharram since 1831 when it was introduced to the region by Shi'ite Muslim sepoy troops from India who were stationed and later settled there during the British Raj.
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Like Western passion plays, ta'zia dramas were originally performed outdoors at crossroads and other public places where large audiences could gather. Performances later took place in the courtyards of inns and private homes, but eventually unique structures called takias were constructed for the specific purpose of staging the plays. Community cooperation was encouraged in the building and decoration of the takias, whether the funds for the enterprise were provided by an individual philanthropist or by contributions from the residents of its particular locality. The takias varied in size, from intimate structures which could only accommodate a few dozen spectators to large buildings capable of holding an audience of more than a thousand people. Often the takias were temporary, having been erected specially for the mourning of Muharram. All takias, regardless of their size, are constructed as theaters-in-the-round to intensify the dynamic between actors and audience. the spectators are literally surrounded by the action and often become physical participants in the play. In unwalled takias, it is not unusual for combat scenes to occur behind the audience.
Takia-ye Dawlat, the Royal Theater in Tehran, was the most famous of all the ta'zia performance spaces. Built in the 1870s by Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, the Royal Theater's sumptuous magnificence surpassed that of Europe's greatest opera houses in the opinion of many Western visitors. This takia was later destroyed by Reza Shah.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ta'zieh.|
- Passion play an article by Encyclopædia Britannica online
- The passion (ta¿zia) of Husayn ibn 'Ali by Peter Chelkowski, an article of Encyclopædia Iranica.
- Nasser Taghvaee's documentary: Tamrin e Akhar (BBC Persian)
- Abbas Kiarostami on Tazieh (BBC Persian)
- Ta'zieh, the Persian Passion Play
- Ta'zieh by Peter Chelkowski in Encyclopædia Iranica
- Combining creed with culture
- The Legality of making figurine effigy (Taziyah) of the shrine