The hotel Viuna in the village of Abyaneh – or Viuna in the language of the inhabitants – was built as a very stylish local history museum. This feeling is reinforced by the fact, that its wide open spaces have some traditional objects in their focal points, which once played an important role in the daily life of Abyaneh. Like this trolley, which, according to the year 1392 painted on it, was used even two years ago to offer juicy fruits in summertime on the streets of Abyaneh, that is, Viuna. Now they use it to set up the haft sin, the seven abundance-bringing crops at Noruz.

But what did this structure serve to?

At first we would consider it a crib, and we would not make a big mistake, because the essence of the structure is rocking. However, Hamid, the hotel owner just shakes his head with an impish smile. What else is rocked by women in traditional cultures?

An unexpected help is offered by the photo of Nasrollah Kasraian from the volume The nomadic peoples of Iran (2002):

“One of the first tasks in the morning is churning the whole-milk yoghurt, which has been forming over night. The goat-skin churn is suspended from a tripod which is often set up over a smoldering fire. Warmth can speed up the process of butter formation from some three hours to around two. From time to time the butter is scooped out until no more appears. Here she is emptying out the residual liquid which will then be processed further. Amala tribe, south of Qir on their upward migration, 1986.”

Those who come with us to our autumn tour in Iran, remember this, so the dear Hamid would not shake his head, but rather pull up his eyebrows in surprise.

Mahsa Vahdat (Iran) & Sarah Jane Morris (England): Sad Sol – You, My Destiny. From the album Lullabies From The Axis Of Evil (2004). The album was compiled by Erik Hillestad from the countries qualified by President George W. Bush as “the axis of evil”.

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