Javad Modaresi


To Afsaneh Moradi
“Khwarnaq –Arabicized form of Persian Khwarna- is the name of an area situated in one mile far from Nedjaf in Irāq-e Arab, whose reputation is due to the palace built by “Na’mān b. Amra` al-Qays” for Sasanid ruler; “Yazd Gerd I”. Afterwards the palace was expanded, however it was ruined in the 4th century A. D. […] The name of Khwarnaq Palace is tied up with the name of its Greek architect, “Senmar” [or as Nizāmi puts it, Semnar]”.
In his “Haft Peykar”, under the story of building of the Kakh-e Khwarnaq, Nizāmi relates that once the palace has been constructed, the king Na’mān, asked Semnar whether he could build a better palace. His positive answer made the king so furious that he ordered to execute him by throwing him down from the roof of the same palace so that he could not build any other building, or better than that, anywhere. However, from the same story one can conclude that the work of Semnar was not of low quality:
“Went beyond heaven, its prosperity
Sun got its brightness from its Khwarnaq”
Four centuries after Nizāmi, Kamāl al-Din Bihzād depicted after the words of the poet, the same Kākh. Here, unexpectedly, it is an unfinished palace, which is out of glory. Bihzād has rendered the complete building of Nizāmi, in a way that it “always is under construction”. Thus, he avoids the hidden meaning of the palace. Instead, he has made three other elements unveiled: hand, working, and material. The possibility of construction is due to these three elements. It is out of hand, working, and material, that the construction arises. And it is out of these three elements, that a change occurs in the form and a meaning appears. As such, wool becomes cloth, tree becomes trellis, soil becomes brick, and brick becomes building. It is not for producing that hand works, nor it works to add a new thing to the world (since nothing but meaning is addable to the world); it is simply doing a “work”. In this regard, any other expression, even “masterwork”, becomes absurd. From the viewpoint of hand, every pieces of art is a kind of “work”, if it has not yet done with its working, if the hand still is a hand and if the words has not yet interred (nonetheless, they entered in these works, in spite of my unwillingness).
Javad Modarresi, Winter 2013