Shadhavar

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Shadhavar (Arabic: شادهوار) is a legendary unicorn-like creature known from the Medieval Muslim zoological literature. Al-Qazwini said that it lives in Rûm (Asia Minor), has one horn with 42 hollow branches and when the wind passes through them, it produces a pleasant sound, that makes the animals sit around and listen. Horns of those creatures, sometimes gifted to kings, can be played on like a flute. When played on one side, they produce a cheerful sound, and when the other, the music is so sad it makes people cry.

Al-Damiri increased the number of branches to 72 and al-Mustawfi made shadhavar a ferocious carnivore. The change can be explained with merging its description with another creature from Qazwini, the siranis (سيرانس), a predator that plays music to lure its victims. G. Jacob pointed out similarities between the siranis and the sirens from Greek mythology.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Ettinghausen, Richard. The Unicorn: Studies in Muslim Iconography. Freer Gallery of Art. Occasional Papers 1. pp. 64–66.