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هفت پیکر (“The seven portraits”)

The manuscript “The seven portraits” by Nizami was recopied in Samarkand city in 1052 hijra. The comparison carried out between this manuscript and the print editions showed that there is a difference between them and that it is one of the best copies of the manuscript “The seven portraits” by Nizami. There in the manuscript nowhere is mentioned the name of the book or the author. This copy contains 110 pages. The size of the page is sufficiently big, each page accommodates four columns of verses. The pagination of the given copy begins from the number 175, most likely there were included into this manuscript other mesnevi (poems) of Nizami as well but after some time this poem was singled out into a separate book. The form of the typing and the binding of the given manuscript confirm this thought. At the end of the manuscript 2 beits (four lines) are written in the handwriting of somebody named Mullah Urfi. At the last sheet in another handwriting are written several more beits. Nizami Gyandjevi Abu Mukhammed Iliyas Ibn Yusuf – (approximately 1141 – approximately 1209), the Azerbaijani poet and thinker. The world fame came to Nizami after he wrote his five poems “Khamsa” (“The five books”) – “The treasury of secrets” (between 1173 and 1180), “Khosrov and Shirin” (1181), “Leila and Medjnun” (1188), “The seven beauties” (1197). The plot: Bakhram Gur sincerely wishes to bring happiness to his people, punishes his enemies and oppressors and revokes many punishments. The author also shows the weak sides of his hero with all the vicious passions typical for the feudal Oriental rulers. Bakhram Gur creates a gorgeous harem, spends his time hunting, at the feasts and enjoyments, quite often forgetting about his duty. Using this opportunity, his first councilor Rast Rovshan wreaks havoc, robs the peasants, plunders the people and betrays the country to the enemies. Bakhram realizes his mistake only when he meets a wise herdsman who opens his eyes upon the arbitrariness and iniquities. The herdsman gave the shah a splendid lesson of real life. The history of creation: The poem was ordered to Nizami by the Seldjuk sultan Suleiman to whom the author dedicates a special chapter – there is praise and edification by comparing him with the wise Solomon-Suleiman. The main goal of the work is the disclosure of the image of Bakhram Gur (his prototype was the legendary Sasanide shah Bakhram or Varakhran V who ruled in 421-438). By this the poet tried to express his understanding of the ruler’s mission. The ruler, asserts Nizami, must be humane and educated, must care about the people and while ruling the state he must rely upon the wise lesson of real life. There in the poem the magic number seven is constantly in circulation: these are the stories in seven days of the week of the seven wives of the legendary ancient Irani shah Bakhram Gur taken by him from the seven zones of the Earth and living in seven palaces, each of which is dedicated to the seven planets known at that time. Of edification are the stories of the seven prisoners imprisoned by the treacherous councilor. Their narration urges the king to give up the thoughtless corporeal joys and return back to the management of the country, organizing it on the spiritual basics of justice and amicability. It is notable that there in the poem for the first time in the history of Oriental poetry was created the image of the Russian girl. She is a clever, educated, dauntless beauty possessing a will. By the way, “beauty” can be translated as “portrait” or ”planet”, ”star”. The poetical masterpiece of Nizami became alive in the ballet “The seven beauties” (1952) which brought world fame to the Azerbaijani composer, the people’s artists of the USSR K.Karayev (born 1918). The world significance: The best expert of the creative activity of Nizami – E.E.Bertels deems him to be one of the most outstanding personalities of his times. He compared the poems of Nizami with the novels about the knights of the European medieval times. The creative activity of Nizami was highly estimated at the West. The great German poet Goethe in his “Western-eastern divan” about Nizami said: “The beauty of the poems is great, the variety endless…”.