The girdle figured in the Persian Intextus poem

by Angelo Michele Piemontese [La Sapienza, Rome]


SUMMARY: After the ancient and mediaeval Latin literary tradition the carmen intextum ‘interwoven’ or figuratum ‘figurative’ poem combines letters or words to signify a sentence which outlines a drawing or an object in accordance with geometrical principles, rhythmical meters and complex rhetorical devices such as acrostics.


The rhomb / lozenge constitutes a basic figure in the practices of the intextus poem and of connected textile arts and heraldic emblems.


The Persian muwashshah emerges between Eastern Iran and Transoxiana (early 11th century) as a peculiar sort of intextus poem. Its represents the main speech, the thread of a sentence, like a rhomboid microtext, a short lozengy poem representing a necklace, a belt, a baldric as outcome. The natural ‘girded rhombic’ pearl of the collar has the shape of an almond.


In rhetorical terms the muwashshah involves acrostichs, mesostichs, sometimes telestichs, within the frame of a panegyrical qasida and of a quatrain that appears a poetic form strictly connected to this practice.


The surveys by the prosodists Rāduyāni (1088), Rashid al-Din Vatvāt (1173) and Shams al-Din Qeys al-Rāzi (1232) are reported and explained.


The meaningful poems by Movaqqari, Rashidi of Samarqand who fashions an hymn of the stanzaic genre, Varāvini, and other anonymous authors are fully quoted, translated into English and illustrated with diagrams and plates.


The short sign-board poem, the long geometrical poem, a sort of labyrinth having at its core a chess-board, the two-faced or quite symmetrical twin poem are presented in detail.


After the most typical example given by Qeys al-Rāzi a belt secured by a rhombic buckle or a lozenge-shaped baldric is figured in the poem that the represents the standard acrostics technique as well as the main model of the Persian classical muwashshah.