Following on from the 7 planets, follow Prince Bahram wandering through his 7 pavilions of 7 beauties in his palace of princesses. A locked room contains their 7 portraits, one princess from each of the 7 climes, and he falls in love with… all 7 at the same time (different times, different rules). Later he sets out in search of the seven and they become his brides. An architect constructs 7 domes to house each wife and each dome corresponds to one of the 7 planets and is associated with that planet’s colour. Each night, each princess tells him a story and he learns from each one in turn. We’ll discuss Julie Scott Meisami’s verse translation and the Sufi, mystical meaning of the whole poem - of which the 7 Domes are just a part - in class. The Haft Peykar itself is a part of the Khamsa (Quintet) of Nezami… poems within poems within poems a bit like tales within tales within tales that I will never tire of like the 1001 Nights! This series of 7 tales is also part of the Hasht Behesht (8 Paradises) and although there are 8 paradises (as in Islamic heaven which has 8 gates), 7 of those paradises are Bahram’s pavilions. This unique painting-teaching-performance is a one-off event series and will be recorded but won’t be repeated. You do not need to take all the classes although to experience the full picture of the poem I recommend all of them. If, like me, due to UK passport waiting times, you are unable to go on holiday this summer, why not become a studio-armchair traveller into the past?
The Procession of Princesses and their Pavilions:
Day 1: Monday 25 July The Princess Naz Pari of Khwarazm and the Moon in her Green Dome. Khwarazm is Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. Still Central Asia. [In the Hasht Behesht this is the Slav Princess.]
Day 2: Tuesday 26 July The Princess Nasrin-Nush of Saqaliba and Mars in her Red Dome. Saqaliba is the Slavic lands of Central, Southern and Eastern Europe. This story is the basis of Puccini’s opera Turandot. [In the Hasht Behesht this is the Tatar Princess.]
Day 3: Wednesday 27 July The Princess Azarbin of the Maghreb and Mercury in her Turquoise Dome. The Maghreb is Northwest Africa: Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia as well as bits of the Sahara and Spain. [In the Hasht Behesht, this is the Rumi Princess.]
Day 4: Thursday 28 July The Princess Humay of Rum and Jupiter in her Sandalwood Brown Dome. Rum is Rome. More specifically, it is Byzantium (Eastern Roman Empire). [In the Hasht Behesht, this is the Arabian Princess.]
Day 5: Friday 29 July The Princess Diroste of Iran and Venus in her White Dome. [In the Hasht Behesht, this is the Khwarezmian Princess.]
Day 6: Saturday 30 July The Princess Furak of India and Saturn (the original poem starts on Saturday) in her Black Dome. Serendip was Serendipity, the island of Sri Lanka.
Day 7: Sunday 31 July The Princess Yaghma Naz of Turkestan and the Sun in her Yellow Dome. Turkestan is Turan. Turan is not Iran. Turan is Sogdiana. Sogdiana is Transoxiana. Transoxiana is roughly Xinjiang, west China, and Central Asia. Obviously these don’t correlate exactly with ancient borders and in poetry are somewhat mutable too; camels ignored them and so did birds. Sometimes this is the Princess of Nimruz - Balochistan/Afghanistan, and sometimes this is the Greek princess!
You will need: - Miniature painting supplies (go to the Forum at www.miniaturepaintingforum.com > Resources for a full list of supplies) - Paper ready prepared with a Dome on it, traced and transferred and the lines inked in. This is a separate series which also stands alone. Please note that we will not cover the preparation and teastaining of the paper in this class (that is covered in other miniature classes). Please also note that we will solely focus on the Domes in these classes and not the Princesses - which are covered separately in much more detail in the focused Painted Ladies class series. 7 is special!