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I think most of the "Mazaher" section should be split to its own article. It appears that most or all of this information was taken from the website [1]. I think it was sufficiently rewritten so that it isn't a copyvio, but I think it needs further work in terms of tone, style, verification etc. Also, there is a whole lot of confusion resulting from the seeming interchangeability of the terms tanbura, tamboura, tanbur etc. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians identifies the instrument as a tanbura so I've gone with that. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 18:59, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

☑Y Done I've moved the Mazaher text to Mazaher. I've reassessed this article as class=stub. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 13:13, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Article name[edit]

It isn't clear to me whether Zar is a religion, a ritual, or the term for possessive spirits. Based on the little I've been able to find it might mean any of the three. In any case I'd suggest changing the article's name so it has a shorter and/or clearer disambiguation than "(religious custom)". -- Gyrofrog (talk) 16:09, 11 June 2007 (UTC)

☑Y Done I've moved the article to Zār, as spelled in the Grove Dictionary of Music. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 12:58, 13 July 2007 (UTC)
I've also redirected Zaar to Zār. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 13:38, 17 July 2007 (UTC)
From what little I know, "Zar" is a malevolent spirit that possesses people, as explained by this. (I've encountered other sources which state the same thing.) Nothing to do with a ritual, except exorcism. -- llywrch (talk) 21:33, 4 July 2009 (UTC)
A belated update, but I've seen that source, as well (along with a couple others that attest to that usage). I have recently added a bit about the use of the term to refer to malevolent spirits. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 17:19, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Tanbūra and krar[edit]

A new citation in the article supports the idea that Zaar spread to Southwest Asia (i.e. Arabia, Iran) via Ethiopian slaves. I'm wondering if they brought the krar with them: judging from photos, the Zaar tanbūra and the krar are very similar. -- Gyrofrog (talk) 13:33, 8 August 2007 (UTC)

The Zaar cult served as a refuge for women and effeminate men in conservative, Muslim-dominated Sudan?[edit]

The source that this is cited from is not, in anyway, a conclusive authority on the Zan cult, especially since it is a source that is more than twenty years old. For more accurate, up-to-date information in this area I would refer to both Janice Boddy and (especially) Linda Giles. In fact, given their research, it would appear that this: "The Zaar cult served as a refuge for women and effeminate men in conservative, Muslim-dominated Sudan." is completely false. The cult came to be as a result of Islam, but not because of it's domination. Furthermore, men and women did participate, but it was not as connected to gender ideals as this author makes it sound. It had more to do with class than anything, as many of the participants were upper-class, highly-educated men and women. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 05:00, 12 February 2009

Copyright problem removed[edit]

Prior content in this article duplicated one or more previously published sources. The material was copied from: Copied or closely paraphrased material has been rewritten or removed and must not be restored, unless it is duly released under a compatible license. (For more information, please see "using copyrighted works from others" if you are not the copyright holder of this material, or "donating copyrighted materials" if you are.) For legal reasons, we cannot accept copyrighted text or images borrowed from other web sites or published material; such additions will be deleted. Contributors may use copyrighted publications as a source of information, but not as a source of sentences or phrases. Accordingly, the material may be rewritten, but only if it does not infringe on the copyright of the original or plagiarize from that source. Please see our guideline on non-free text for how to properly implement limited quotations of copyrighted text. Wikipedia takes copyright violations very seriously, and persistent violators will be blocked from editing. While we appreciate contributions, we must require all contributors to understand and comply with these policies. Thank you. Gyrofrog (talk) 21:39, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

  • The text in question may have been placed here under the assumption that it was published by the US Government, and thus not protected by copyright. This is not the case: although it appears on, the text was originally published in the journal Harefuah. In any case, it did not make any sense in the context of a Wikipedia article: "treated in our outpatient clinic," "We find it important" etc. (see also MOS:FIRSTPERSON). -- Gyrofrog (talk) 21:39, 7 January 2014 (UTC)

The "Ṭumbura" section does not even mention Zar[edit]

The section on possession in Ṭumbura does not mention Zar. Does the Ṭumbura section belong in this article? Or should it be rewritten to mention how it is part of the Zar system? Pete unseth (talk) 17:01, 5 August 2015 (UTC)

I'm not sure what you mean. Tumbura, on this page, is only mentioned in the external links. I did notice that "tanbura" was redirected to Tanbur at some point, while it should link to Tanbūra (lyre). (Maybe that's what you meant?) -- Gyrofrog (talk) 20:35, 14 August 2015 (UTC)

article scope[edit]

The article was extremely confused, because it apparently conflated at least three, related but different, phenomena. First of all, Zār is the term for "malevolent spirit" or "demon", it is not the "name of a ritual". The ritual has to be termed "Zār ritual" or similar. The topic includes

  • demonology in the Horn of Africa (or 19th-century Abyssinia): generic folk beliefs regarding spirits causing illness and driving them out by killing fowl or similar. Nothing to do with women in particular.
  • Belief in "ill winds" in southern Iran, apparently imported from Abyssinia around 1900. Some Iranian authors suggested that zār is in origin an Iranian term for such winds, but the communis opinio seems to be that belief in demons was imported to Iran by African slaves and then developed independently in Iranian culture
  • the modern urban phenomenon, i.e. women's parties in Cairo etc. There seems to be a polite understanding that when a woman is possessed by a zār, she is free to behave outside of the norm, and spend a few nights with her friends dancing ecstatically.
  • the urban social thing has apparently also come to the attention of the Western "belly-dance" scene, hence references to specific Zār rythms (properly, ayub) etc. in belly-dance literature from the mid-2000s [2][3][4]

It would probably be misguided to discuss various musical instruments in the context of 19th-century Ethiopian demonology, and just as misguided to detail the various animal sacrifices used in 19th-century Ethiopia in the context of women's parties in contemporary Cairo.

There is a proper article waiting to be written here, which would obviously break out such sub-topics into sections. --dab (𒁳) 18:05, 7 May 2016 (UTC)