Mirror of Sanandaj: Illustrated

سعدوندیان، سیروس و اتحادیه، منصوره. آمار دارالخلافه تهران: اسنادی از تاریخ اجتماعی تهران در عصر قاجار. تهران: نشر تاریخ ایران، ١٣۶٨، چاپ اول، ٦۵١ص.


ايازى، برهان. آئينۀ سنندج: مصور. سنندج: ب. ايازى، ١٣٧١، ٨٧٨ص.


Ayazi, Burhan. Aʼinah-yi Sanandaj: Musavvar. Sanandaj: B. Ayazi, 1992, 878pp.




Mirror of Sanandaj: Illustrated


آئينۀ سنندج: مصور


Burhan Ayazi has largely organised A’inah-yi Sanandaj based on what he saw and heard in his native city during the years 1931–81. The book includes an extensive index that covers buildings and structures, rituals and ceremonies, beliefs and superstitions, trade and shops, city planning and architecture, as well as the games, sports and leisure activities of the people of Sanandaj. As such, the work is like a comprehensive monograph with the difference that its “present ethnographic study” is not limited to one historical period but covers a half-century. As a result, the work also addresses cultural changes over time. In addition, the book includes several black and white photographs of scenes in the city of Sanandaj.


Ayazi has written the book in Persian and does not address the language of the people of Sanandaj, which is Kurdish. However, he skilfully explains the roots of certain Kurdish names. Perhaps the absence of a dedicated section on language and accent can be explained by the fact that language rarely shows major changes in the course of a half-century and the author’s main concern is to record cultural changes. On the other hand, he hopes that his book will familiarise young Kurds from Sanandaj with the recent past of their city, a past that according to the writer was much better than the present.


Despite this book being written for a young Kurdish audience, it provides an astute account of the nuances of Sanandaj’s popular culture from the point of view of a native “cultural assistant”. As such, the book is recommended to all anthropologists and those who are interested in the field of anthropology. Moreover, A’inah-yi Sanandaj has a unique and pleasant style that calls to mind the writings of Mohammad Ghazi. Like Burhan Ayazi, Ghazi is a Kurd who writes in Persian.


Finally, it must be noted that the author did not feel the need to cover the history of Sanandaj and often refers the reader to Sheikh Muhammad Mardukh’s Tarikh-i Kurd wa Kurdistan. For this reason, the book does not contain a list of sources as is conventional in works of history. However, in cases where the author felt historical evidence was necessary, he has cited the source on the spot. Many of these sources are manuscripts that the author has himself collected, thereby enhancing the value of the book as a primary source.


Esmailpour Ghouchani, Iradj. "Mirror of Sanandaj: Illustrated.Translated by Çeviren Metin Yeğenoğlu. In Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 15. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
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