Mirror of Sanandaj: Illustrated

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


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


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
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
. 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

by Niki Akhavan


Esmailpour Ghouchani, Iradj. '"English abstract of 'Mirror of Sanandaj: Illustrated'". Translated by Translated by Niki Akhavan. Cities as Built and Lived Environments: Scholarship from Muslim Contexts, 1875 to 2011, by Aptin Khanbaghi. 15. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2014.
Muslim Civilisations Abstracts - The Aga Khan University
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