Introduction to the Sabzevar Anthropology Museum
Sabzevar is a historical city in Khorasan Razavi province and the neighbourhood of Semnan province. The place dates back 12 thousand years and includes various customs and cultural people. The Sabzevar Anthropology Museum is one of the most significant places in the city, which is to acquaint people with the culture. Since anthropological museums’ goals are preserving the past for the future, you can have a memorable trip to the past by visiting the museum. Also, you can introduce yourself to the customs, occupations, and traditional professions of the region’s people, which is both attractive and fruitful.
History of Sabzevar Anthropology Museum
Faramarz Khan Caravanserai is one of the historical monuments of Sabzevar, which dates back to the Qajar period. In 1874 A.D, according to an endowment by Haji Faramarz Khan, who held the position of brigadier general during the reign of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, the 4th Qajar king; they built the caravanserai outside the gates of Nishapor and along the Khorasan highway for the welfare of the pilgrims of Imam Reza. In other words, he dedicated the caravanserai and the water reservoir next to it to the pilgrims of Imam Reza. In 2007, the usage of the caravanserai dock changed to the Sabzevar Anthropology Museum.
The architecture of the Faramarz Khan Caravanserai (Sabzevar Anthropology Museum)
There are different types of caravanserais in Iran. Faramarz Khan caravanserai is a four-Iwan type whose entrance is connected to the south Iwan from the south side through a Hashti. In addition to the four primary Iwans, the building contains several pavilions overlooking the central courtyard, which also had rooms at the end of the pavilions, such as a dock or stables. The entrance Iwan of the caravanserai consists of two floors, and its main architectural decorations are limited to geometric designs using paintings on bricks. When you enter the museum, you will see various booths and displays of people in different costumes. These booths include local customs, the Nowruz festival, the Yalda night, and the traditional wedding room. Also, the booths contain handicrafts, including weaving (in this type of weaving, we use spun cotton or silk threads), carpet weaving, Jajim weaving, and Traditional kilims. And you can see occupations booths, including blacksmithing, traditional dyeing, pottery, apothecary, and woodturning, and a booth to introduce the wooden horse dance, which is one of the ritual arts of the city.
Wooden horse ritual
At the beginning of the entrance and in the middle of the museum, there is a wooden horse stand. The performance of the ritual of the wooden horse is usual in the happy gatherings of Sabzevar city. This religion is rooted in the time when the people of Sabzevar were at war with the Mongols. The wooden horse is a sign of a solo rider, if it is a friend, people will welcome it, and if it is an enemy, they will destroy it. The wooden horse is also famous as a symbol of the hated character in the Mongol costume, who always fails in the end, and people celebrated this destruction. At weddings, they decorate the bride’s wooden horse with coloured cloth and the groom’s wooden horse with black clothes.
The occupations booths
The people of Sabzevar enjoyed unique arts. The art of woodturning has been so diverse and voluminous among them that formerly they have exported their products to other areas, including Mashhad and Tehran. So, part of the museum has focused on displaying the Woodturning profession.
Animal husbandry in Sabzevar in the form of sheep herding (mobile livestock by a group that is originally monogamous and rural) and camel farming has led to the popularity and prosperity of the felt-making profession, which has become obsolete in recent years.
There are more than one hundred species of medicinal plants in Sabzevar, and you can see some of them in the Apothecary booth.
Kilim and Palas weaving
Rural women have worked alongside men in all stages of life. But the women have also devoted some of their lives to weaving Kilims or Palas, besides their daily activities. In the past, they used camel wool to weave kilims due to the prevalence of melding, but now fleece is more common.