saw the beauty of what they had made and never known

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MaryamSeresht

Senior Member
Persian
Hi everyone,

The red part is a little unclear to me. I guess the craftsmen saw the beauty of their own carving, but no one ever understood it.

Across the river, in the distance, she could see the ruins of a hunting lodge that dated to the Mughal emperor Jehangir: just a few pale arches still upholding carvings of irises. The Mughals had descended from the mountains to invade India but, despite their talent in waging war, were softhearted enough to weep for the loss of this flower in the heat; the persistent dream of the iris was carved everywhere, by craftsmen who felt the nostalgia, saw the beauty of what they had made and never known
Many thanks.
Chapter 29 of Inheritance of Loss, a novel by Kiran Desai.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I understand it to mean that these craftsmen saw the beauty of the iris but had never known such beauty in their own lives.
     

    MaryamSeresht

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Hello, Liliana. No there are no more references to Iris. Irises had been carved on the arches of a hunting lodge that dated to the Mughal emperor Jehangir.
     

    MaryamSeresht

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Hello, teddy. But those Mughals had seen irises in India, and since they wanted to maintain it alive forever, carved them on everything! Here an Indian woman watches the Irises carvings from her house's roof in the distance.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    But those Mughals had seen irises in India
    The Mughals invaded India from Central Asia around 1526 which I think is what is being referenced by "descended from the mountains." "loss of this flower in the heat" seems to indicate that the flowers aren't in India, yet the craftsmen still use them as a decorative theme at the time of Jehangir who became emperor about 100 years after the invasion.
     

    MaryamSeresht

    Senior Member
    Persian
    Yes, after I've posted that Mughals had seen irises, I believed I was wrong. The craftsmen hadn't seen the real irises. It was just in their mind. Thank you so much Myridon about this history.
     

    LilianaB

    Banned
    Lithuanian
    I think the invaders were just touched by the beauty of the carved flowers, the fragility of the life of a flower captured in a carving. I believe the artists have created the carving based solely of their perception of them, or rather imagination, without actually having seen the real flowers.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I suppose that the Mughals had a tradition of depicting irises in their art, dating from before they "descended from the mountains".

    Reminds me of the fleur de lys symbol in heraldry, which represents a lily but is not longer really recognizable as one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleur_de_lys

    Edit: the Wikipedia article mentions (I didn't know this) that the fleur de lys may have originally represented an iris...
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    A picture of the Mughal depiction of what an iris looked like: http://designamourcom.zippykid.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/Mughal-Decoration-61.jpg (the golden flower)

    An iris: Iris pseudacorus http://www.nature-diary.co.uk/nn-images/0406/040601-iris-pseudacorus.jpg

    I don't know if this is particularly relevant, but the Mughals were Moslems and, as such were forbidden to reproduce accurate copies of anything alive on the planet. To circumvent this, it was not unusual to make purposely inaccurate depictions/effigies of living things.
     
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