Jashn-e Mehregan: Private Exhibition
2020 has been a painful and punishing time for everyone. The joy of gathering or celebrating has been sidelined by health and economic catastrophes. In the spirit of hope and optimism, an original and unconventional sofreh was created around the autumnal harvest for a private exhibition dedicated to Jashn-e Mehregan.
Jashn-e Mehregan is an Iranian festival which is apparently dedicated to the god of Mithra (Mehr). To read more, please visit www.iranicaonline.org/articles/mehragan. Very briefly, in the Persian culture, Mehregan is believed to have the same significance as Nowruz, with Nowruz signalling the beginning of spring and Mehregan marking the arrival of autumn. The celebrations, which have their origins in the pre-Islamic period and are associated with agriculture and harvest, are usually held between 16 and 21 Mehr in the Persian calendar, which correspond to 8 and 13 October. Although in the past sofreh was part of the Mehregan customs, in modern times, it is not. Yet to mark the occasion, a sofreh with a refreshing outlook, showcasing a contemporary interpretation of past practices, is presented here.
This image reveals the overall view of the elaborate sofreh, which is arranged on a generous length of draped raw silk, in shades of gold, and embellished with withered oak leaves. This innovative sofreh, which echoes the spirit of Jashn-e Mehregan, comprises pomegranates, apples, onions, root vegetables, peppers, walnuts, rice, wheat, grapes and bouquets of flowers in autumnal tones.
This elegant bouquet, which includes Chocolate Bubble spray roses, open Toffee roses, asparagus fern, Hypericum and tinted Eucalyptus in smoky orange and rust tones, is decidedly autumnal. The colour combination nicely complements the spirit of Jashn-e Mehregan. The bouquet takes centre stage in the original sofreh, which was designed for a private exhibition for the occasion.
The focus of this image is the section dedicated to fresh and sculptured pomegranates. These radiant ornamental pomegranates, which in the Persian culture are among the divine fruits and are a symbol of fertility, are presented in a hessian bag, as well as beside it. This section, like the other parts of this sofreh, is embellished with withered oak leaves.