Iconology of Capra Motif in the Petroglyphs of Jorbat

Document Type : تاریخ معماری خراسان بزرگ


This article, which is the result of a research in the field of iconology, tries to look at the presence of Capra motif in the petroglyphs of Jorbat, North Khorasan. The Jarbat petroglyphs have a special position due to quantity and quality of motifs and continuity (at least from the Bronze Age to the contemporary era). A considerable amount of motifs in the Jorbat petroglyphs are animal drawings and many of them (more than four hundred) are different images of Capra with prominent, curved horns. Two different biological species can be distinguished in these drawings: Capra aegagrus or Bezoar ibex with tall and curved horns, and Capra aegagrus hircus or Domestic goat with short and straight horns. From the cultural point of view, the place of Capra in Iranian thought can be traced back to ancient texts, where he is a prowess symbol and a body for the valorous god Bahram in battle with demons. But the main reason for repeating this motif is the economic significance of Capras in the life of the residents of this region. Capra was domesticated by the inhabitants of the Iranian plateau around ten thousand years ago. Since then, this animal has been continuously featured in the Iranian art, as chief of flock, and the symbol for abundance of herd and crops. Shepherds of Jorbat probably portrayed Capras on the cliffs over thousands of years, as a blessing rout sign and in the hope of fertilizing their flock.