Persian: نگار and نگاری in ghazals

Milky Lion

New Member
Chinese
Hi there I have a question concerning the gender problem of نگار / نگاری in Persian poetic tradition. Since

1. the Persian language is not gender marked, and
2. the poetic vocabulary has been usurped by the شاهدبازی Sufis for a long time,

the exact gender of the beloved often becomes conveniently (or inconveniently!!) ambiguous. So long as خط does not appear in the neighboring verses you can always look as if butter won't melt in your mouth. My question is, compared with such terms like ترکی and ساقی, do نگاری and نگار have a more feminine overtone? Or are they tacitly agreed to be feminine at all?

I got this feeling because

1. نگاری / نگار can refer specifically to "figures stained on the hands and feet with a dye extracted from the colouring shrub ḥinā" - practice exclusively reserved for women;

2. In that famous miniature (Naqdhā rā bovad āyā - Wikipedia) illustrating Hafez's ghazal

رقص بر شعر تر و ناله نی خوش باشد‎
خاصه رقصی که در آن دست نگاری گیرند

the only dancing figure is apparently a lady.

Another quotation is from Khayyam:

هر شاخ بنفشه کز زمین می‌روید
خالیست که بر رخ نگاری بودست

Is there anyone here who can help me? And thank you for bearing with the tedious length of this question!





 

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  • PersoLatin

    Senior Member
    UK
    Persian - Iran
    I am afraid the short answer is no.

    نگار can mean "drawing/writing/print" or "beauty", e.g. رنگ نگاری/colouring, انگشت نگاری/finger printing, خبرنگار/reporter نگارش/writing

    1. نگاری / نگار can refer specifically to "figures stained on the hands and feet with a dye extracted from the colouring shrub ḥinā" - practice exclusively reserved for women;
    This is not a custom in Iran as far as I know and nor have I heard of نگاری in that context, but regardless of that ی in نگاری in this context is a noun maker so نگاری means "drawing"
    رقص بر شعر تر و ناله نی خوش باشد‎
    خاصه رقصی که در آن دست نگاری گیرند
    ی in نگاری means "some" and نگار here means "beauty" (like a drawing) & can refer to both genders so نگاری means "some beauty/lover".

    1. the Persian language is not gender marked
    Of course what goes on in the poet's head we have no idea of but the language, for exactly what you said above, provides no clue.
     
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    Milky Lion

    New Member
    Chinese
    Thank you so much PersoLatin! You have all my doubts dispelled.

    For the practice of ladies applying henna to their their hands and feet, I am pretty sure I had read somewhere that during certain periods ancient Iranian women performed this for embellishment - not simply dyeing their top knuckles and soles red, like we still see in some of the Indian women today - but well up to the wrists and ankles. If only I could remember the source! I will follow up if I am able to dig it up from my memory.

    I did manage, however, to find a miniature depicting such scenes (here more of the "Indian manner") - https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/451308. I myself have great difficulty in reading the accompanying handwritten lines, but you are most welcome to, if you feel like it :)
     

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    RTin

    New Member
    Persian
    Thank you so much PersoLatin! You have all my doubts dispelled.

    For the practice of ladies applying henna to their their hands and feet, I am pretty sure I had read somewhere that during certain periods ancient Iranian women performed this for embellishment - not simply dyeing their top knuckles and soles red, like we still see in some of the Indian women today - but well up to the wrists and ankles. If only I could remember the source! I will follow up if I am able to dig it up from my memory.

    I did manage, however, to find a miniature depicting such scenes (here more of the "Indian manner") - https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/451308. I myself have great difficulty in reading the accompanying handwritten lines, but you are most welcome to, if you feel like it :)

    Hi,
    The verses written in this miniature margins are not directly related to henna. They are part of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh, which refer to a feast of victory. Here is the Persian text of the poem:
    بدیدند پر خون تن شاه را
    کجا خیره کردی به رخ ماه را
    همی آفرین خواندندش سران
    سواران جنگی و کنداوران
    شنید آن سخن در زمان گرگسار
    که پیروز شد نامور شهریار
    تنش گشت لرزان و رخساره زرد
    همی رفت پویان و دل پر ز درد
    سراپرده زد شهریار جوان
    به گردش دلیران روشن‌روان
    زمین را به دیبا بیاراستند
    نشستند بر خوان و می خواستند
     
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