A Fire in My Heart: Kurdish Tales (World Folklore)

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A number of these mythological figures can be found in other cultures, like the Simurgh and Kaveh the Blacksmith in the broader Iranian Mythology , and stories of Shahmaran throughout Anatolia. Additionally, stories can be purely entertaining, or have an educational or religious aspect. Perhaps the most widely reoccurring element is the fox, which, through cunning and shrewdness triumphs over less intelligent species, yet often also meets his demise.

Storytellers would perform in front of an audience, sometimes consisting of an entire village. People from outside the region would travel to attend their narratives, and the storytellers themselves would visit other villages to spread their tales. These would thrive especially during winter, where entertainment was hard to find as evenings had to be spent inside.

Coinciding with the heterogeneous Kurdish groupings, although certain stories and elements were commonly found throughout Kurdistan, others were unique to a specific area; depending on the region, religion or dialect. The Kurdish Jews of Zakho are perhaps the best example of this; their gifted storytellers are known to have been greatly respected throughout the region, thanks to a unique oral tradition. In , the language was decriminalized, yet the now highly available radios and TV's had as an effect a diminished interest in traditional storytelling. Kurdish weaving is renowned throughout the world, with fine specimens of both rugs and bags.

The most famous Kurdish rugs are those from the Bijar region , in the Kurdistan Province. Because of the unique way in which the Bijar rugs are woven, they are very stout and durable, hence their appellation as the 'Iron Rugs of Persia'. Exhibiting a wide variety, the Bijar rugs have patterns ranging from floral designs, medallions and animals to other ornaments. They generally have two wefts , and are very colorful in design.

Another well-known Kurdish rug is the Senneh rug, which is regarded as the most sophisticated of the Kurdish rugs.

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They are especially known for their great knot density and high quality mountain wool. Throughout other Kurdish regions like Kermanshah , Siirt , Malatya and Bitlis rugs were also woven to great extent. Kurdish bags are mainly known from the works of one large tribe: the Jaffs , living in the border area between Iran and Iraq. These Jaff bags share the same characteristics of Kurdish rugs; very colorful, stout in design, often with medallion patterns.

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They were especially popular in the West during the s and s. Outside of weaving and clothing, there are many other Kurdish handicrafts , which were traditionally often crafted by nomadic Kurdish tribes. These are especially well known in Iran, most notably the crafts from the Kermanshah and Sanandaj regions. Among these crafts are chess boards, talismans, jewelry, ornaments, weaponry, instruments etc.

Kurdish blades include a distinct jambiya , with its characteristic I-shaped hilt, and oblong blade. Generally, these possess double-edged blades, reinforced with a central ridge, a wooden, leather or silver decorated scabbard, and a horn hilt, furthermore they are often still worn decoratively by older men. Swords were made as well. Most of these blades in circulation stem from the 19th century. Another distinct form of art from Sanandaj is 'Oroosi', a type of window where stylized wooden pieces are locked into each other, rather than being glued together.

These are further decorated with coloured glass, this stems from an old belief that if light passes through a combination of seven colours it helps keep the atmosphere clean. Among Kurdish Jews a common practice was the making of talismans, which were believed to combat illnesses and protect the wearer from malevolent spirits. Adorning the body with tattoos deq in Kurdish is widespread among the Kurds; even though permanent tattoos are not permissible in Sunni Islam. Therefore, these traditional tattoos are thought to derive from pre-Islamic times.

Tattoo ink is made by mixing soot with breast milk and the poisonous liquid from the gall bladder of an animal. The design is drawn on the skin using a thin twig and is, by needle, penetrated under the skin. These have a wide variety of meanings and purposes, among which are protection against evil or illnesses; beauty enhancement; and the showing of tribal affiliations. Religious symbolism is also common among both traditional and modern Kurdish tattoos. Tattoos are more prevalent among women than among men, and were generally worn on feet, the chin, foreheads and other places of the body.

The popularity of permanent, traditional tattoos has greatly diminished among newer generation of Kurds.


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However, modern tattoos are becoming more prevalent; and temporary tattoos are still being worn on special occasions such as henna , the night before a wedding and as tribute to the cultural heritage. No specific music was associated with the Kurdish princely courts. Several musical forms are found in this genre. Many songs are epic in nature, such as the popular Lawiks , heroic ballads recounting the tales of Kurdish heroes such as Saladin.

Heyrans are love ballads usually expressing the melancholy of separation and unfulfilled love, one of the first Kurdish female singers to sing heyrans is Chopy Fatah , while Lawje is a form of religious music and Payizoks are songs performed during the autumn. Throughout the Middle East, there are many prominent Kurdish artists. The main themes of Kurdish Cinema are the poverty and hardship which ordinary Kurds have to endure. The first films featuring Kurdish culture were actually shot in Armenia.

Zare, released in , produced by Hamo Beknazarian , details the story of Zare and her love for the shepherd Seydo, and the difficulties the two experience by the hand of the village elder. These were joint Armenian-Kurdish productions; with H. Jamharyan for Kurds of Armenia. Another prominent Kurdish film director is Bahman Qubadi. His first feature film was A Time for Drunken Horses , released in It was critically acclaimed, and went on to win multiple awards. Other movies of his would follow this example, [] making him one of the best known film producers of Iran of today.

The most popular sport among the Kurds is football. They became runners-up in and , before ultimately becoming champion in On a national level, the Kurdish clubs of Iraq have achieved success in recent years as well, winning the Iraqi Premier League four times in the last five years.

The most prominent Kurdish-Turkish club is Diyarbakirspor. Another prominent sport is wrestling.

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In Iranian Wrestling , there are three styles originating from Kurdish regions:. Furthermore, the most accredited of the traditional Iranian wrestling styles, the Bachoukheh, derives its name from a local Khorasani Kurdish costume in which it is practised.

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Kurdish medalists in the Summer Olympics were Nur Tatar , [] Kianoush Rostami and Yezidi Misha Aloyan ; [] who won medals in taekwondo , weightlifting and boxing , respectively. The traditional Kurdish village has simple houses, made of mud. In most cases with flat, wooden roofs, and, if the village is built on the slope of a mountain, the roof on one house makes for the garden of the house one level higher.

However, houses with a beehive-like roof, not unlike those in Harran , are also present. Over the centuries many Kurdish architectural marvels have been erected, with varying styles. The first genuinely Kurdish examples extant were built in the 11th century.

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In the 12th and 13th centuries the Ayyubid dynasty constructed many buildings throughout the Middle East, being influenced by their predecessors, the Fatimids, and their rivals, the Crusaders, whilst also developing their own techniques. In later periods too, Kurdish rulers and their corresponding dynasties and emirates would leave their mark upon the land in the form mosques, castles and bridges, some of which have decayed, or have been partly destroyed in an attempt to erase the Kurdish cultural heritage, such as the White Castle of the Bohtan Emirate.

Well-known examples are Hosap Castle of the 17th century, [] Sherwana Castle of the early 18th century, and the Ellwen Bridge of Khanaqin of the 19th century. Most famous is the Ishak Pasha Palace of Dogubeyazit, a structure with heavy influences from both Anatolian and Iranic architectural traditions.

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Construction of the Palace began in , led by Colak Abdi Pasha, a Kurdish bey of the Ottoman Empire, but the building would not be completed until , by his grandson, Ishak Pasha. In recent years, the KRG has been responsible for the renovation of several historical structures, such as Erbil Citadel and the Mudhafaria Minaret. Kurdish warriors by Amadeo Preziosi. Zakho Kurds by Albert Kahn , s. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

For other uses, see Kurd disambiguation. Iranian ethnic group. List of Kurds. History of the Kurds. Ancient history.

Medieval history. Modern history.

Main article: Kurdish languages. Main article: Kurdish population. Main article: History of the Kurdish people. Main article: Origin of the Kurds.

Books Received: Folklore: Vol , No 3

Further information: Safavid dynasty. Further information: Zand dynasty. Further information: Ottoman Empire and Sheik Ubeydullah. Main article: Name of the Kurds. Further information: Kurdistan and Kurdish refugees.

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