Pomegranate Festival, Art of miniature inscribed in UNESCO Representative List [PHOTO]
By Laman Ismayilova
With its delicious food and drinks, the Pomegranate Festival has been inscribed in UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
For Azerbaijanis, the Pomegranate festival is the most anticipated holiday of autumn.
This unique and juicy holiday has been celebrated regularly in early November since 2006 in Goychay.
The history of Azerbaijan is inseparably connected with cultivating pomegranates.
Azerbaijani local legends viewed it as a symbol of love and passion, while religious people saw it as symbolizing eternity.
“Pomegranate culture is a set of practices, knowledge, traditions and skills related to the cultivation of the fruit, which is used not only in a range of culinary contexts, but is also referred to in crafts, decorative arts, myths, storytelling and other creative outlets. The element is linked to local agriculture and to the farmers and individuals in rural communities that grow and collect the fruit. These participants have an understanding of environmental characteristics and harvesting techniques,” UNESCO reported.
The fruit enjoys great visibility in society as both the pomegranate and Nar Bayrami perform a range of cultural and social functions – everything from its use in traditional meals to being cited in poetry. Symbolically, the pomegranate is associated with long-term productivity, abundance and is considered as a carrier of energy.
There are various sorts of pomegranate in Azerbaijan. Nearly 200 varieties of pomegranate are cultivated in the country.
The most famous among them are Veles, Shirin, Guleysha and Shikhbaba. These varieties differ in the thickness of peel and the size of grains.
This round red fruit is widely used in the country's national cuisine. Pomegranate sauce called narsharab is a real pride of Azerbaijani cuisine. "Narsharab" is translated as "pomegranate wine", but there is not a drop of alcohol in the sauce.
Narsharab is prepared from pre-pressed fresh pomegranate seeds. Pomegranate grains are poured over the fire and slowly boiled. A few hours later the liquid is removed from the heat.
Salt and spices such as pepper, coriander, bay leaf, cinnamon, and basil are added to enhance the taste.
Moreover, art of miniature practiced by Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey, and Uzbekistan has also entered UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
“The miniature is a type of two-dimensional artwork that involves the design and creation of small paintings on books, papier-mâché, rugs, textiles, walls, ceramics and other items using raw materials such as gold, silver and various organic substances. Historically, the miniature was exemplified by book painting in which the text was supported visually, but the element has evolved and can also be observed in architecture and as an adornment in public spaces, “said in the report.
The patterns of the miniature represent beliefs, worldviews and lifestyles in a pictorial fashion and also gained a new character through the Islamic influence. While there are stylistic differences between them, the art of miniature as practised by the submitting States Parties shares crucial features.
In all cases, it is a traditional craft typically transmitted through mentor-apprentice relationships (non-formal education) and considered as an integral part of each society’s social and cultural identity. The miniature displays a specific type of perspective in which the size of the figures changes according to their importance - a key difference from realistic and naturalistic styles.
Though it has existed for centuries, it continues to develop and thus strengthens the bonds between past and present. Traditional painting principles and techniques are preserved, but artists also bring individual creativity into the process.
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