Birth Table

Maryam Birth Table

This original award-winning sectional dining table set, “Birth Table”, by the Turkish designer Aziz Sanyer, was featured in SOFREH, showcasing a simple, yet creative sofreh for the celebrations of Nowruz (sofreh-ye haft sinn). To celebrate Nowruz in March 2022, this innovative dining table set has formed the foundation for another original sofreh creation. The elements of this versatile set are arranged in a different fashion, and the ensemble of this sofreh is surrounded with lengths of opulently ruched ivory silk.

birth table sofreh

Both the surfaces of the table and some chairs showcase the symbolic elements of the sofreh-ye haft sinn, e.g. a mirror, candelabra, the Qur’an, germinated wheat (sabzeh), hyacinths (sonbol), apples (sib), garlic (sir), vinegar (serkeh), sumac (somaq) and gilded coins (sekkeh). This delightful sofreh is embellished with lengths of fine antique Persian textile (termeh), with elaborate embroideries and borders.

bulbs of garlic

The focus of this image is the fresh bulbs of garlic (sir), placed in an antique silver-plated basket and senjed (jujube fruit, sometimes translated as Russian olive), presented in a Persian silver vessel with an attractive bell-shaped lid. Senjed is a symbol of love and rebirth, and sir is believed to have medicinal and evil-averting powers. This section is embellished with sprigs and leaves of trailing ivy.


This image focuses on the tastefully decorated eggs cascading out of an antique silver-plated container and presented on an antique incised mirror, together with a cluster of gilded coins. Sprigs and leaves of ivy, as well as their reflections, enhance the beauty of this section. Eggs symbolize fertility, and the mirror light and reflection, while gilded coins represent wealth and prosperity. A delicate tray of Persian sweets is also on view.

At the heart of this sofreh sits an impressive arrangement of seven (haft) different shades of hyacinths (sonbol), subtly illuminated with flames. The floral display in seven colours echoes the tradition of haft sinn, the essential part of the sofreh for celebrating Nowruz. The colourful hyacinths lend beauty to the sofreh, heralding the beginning of spring, and their sweet fragrance perfumes the air.
This image focuses on branches of sumac (somaq), a symbol of plenty, growth, peace and harmony. The statuettes of fish substitute live goldfish (mahi). As water creatures, fish are a symbol of Anahita and signify plenitude and blessing, among other virtues. Germinated wheat (sabzeh), the essence of this spring festival and a symbol of rebirth, is on display, as well as Soleirolia soleirolii plants.
paper mache pen cases
This image focuses on a Qur’an with an exquisite papier mâché cover, which is placed on a stand. Three antique Persian papier mâché pen cases (qalamdan), with intricate illustrations, and three miniature glass vessels, which contain crystal sugar (nabat), Persian sugared almonds (noql, both symbols of sweetness and harmony) and gilded coins (sekkeh, a symbol of wealth and prosperity) are on display. Sprigs of trailing ivy grace this section.
basket of apples
The focus of this image is a variety of apples (sib), which are considered a heavenly fruit (miveh-ye beheshti), and represent health, growth and fertility. These divine, shiny and colourful apples (e.g. Gala, Jazz, Fuji and Pink Lady), embellished with sprigs and leaves of trailing ivy, are presented in an open Indian silver box and on a length of antique Persian textile (termeh) with an elegant metallic fringe.
tray of grapes
The focus of this image is an antique silver and crystal bottle of vinegar embellished with fine gold tassels and different varieties and shades of grapes, presented in a Persian silver container with an elegant bell-shaped lid. Vinegar (serkeh), which is cherished for its medicinal properties, is a symbol of patience. Sprigs and leaves of trailing ivy, and their reflections in the silver lid, enhance the beauty of this section.
plants on chair
This image focuses on one of the distinctive and original chairs. Three plump “mind-your-own-business” plants (Soleirolia soleirolii) stand in for germinated seeds (sabzeh), which is the essence of this spring festival (Nowruz). They are elegantly placed on an elaborately embroidered length of termeh. To add interest, a pot of variegated ivy inside an antique silver-plated biscuit box sits underneath the chair.
chair with hyacinths
This image focuses on the other distinctive and original chair. Another colourful arrangement of fragrant hyacinths (sonbol), which herald the beginning of spring and are elegantly draped in a gold and green Indian textile, is on display. A few branches of fresh musk willow (bid meshk), also signalling the beginning of spring, are on view. A sprig of trailing ivy creates movement and subtly garlands this section.