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Its upper branches face the ground just like a destitute dervish who has realised his helplessness before the Creator. In addition, the upright and shapely form of the tree is the symbol of integrity and honesty and its tenacity against wind is the symbol of patience. This state is likened to abandoning the worldly pleasures in Sufism.

Most travellers who visited Istanbul spoke of the cypress trees in Istanbul and cypress groves in graveyards in their travel notes. Like Edmondo de Amicis who depicted Istanbul in s, Elizabeth Lady Craven who visited Turkey in , addressed the natural beauty created by cypress trees. Again Mrs. Cypress motifs are not exclusively observed on historical buildings, in cemeteries or religious grounds. Artists made sure to place a cypress in a corner of their Istanbul or Anatolia paintings with delicate touches of their brushes.

The best example to that is an Istanbul painting by Ivan Aiwasowski; with a cypress tree he painted in the centre of the painting, another natural beauty came to the fore besides Istanbul. Cypress trees can be observed alongside flower motifs in tiling that is a precious craft in Ottoman arts. Cypress trees as figures are decorative elements also in ceramics.

Italian Cypress Tree

Cypress trees are visually featured in works of writing. Particularly in hand-written manuscripts, one or more cypress trees are drawn in depicting events or in nature drawings in miniatures. Cypress motif is also featured alongside flower decorations both in calligraphy and Ottoman edicts. As well as tree of life figure common in Turkish textile arts, cypress figure can be seen on prayer rugs, rugs, stained-glasses, carpet decorations and on historical fountains.

Next to cultural and artistic dimension of cypress, archive documents show that the roots of cypress were burnt in various non-Muslim neighbourhoods as a protection against cholera. A similar practice is known to popular in Egypt in ancient times. Cypress tree is preferred because scientific studies assert that it prevents emission of ammonium, it has a beautiful fragrance due to the resin it contains, an aesthetic appearance, and is a perennial evergreen tree.

Additionally in Turkish tradition, cypress tree has become a popular visual element in Turkish art and beliefs with these attributed meanings. With these aspects, cypress tree on tombstones and in Turkish visual arts, is considered a symbol reminding people of death in the least bothersome fashion.

Sarv-e Abarqu | The world's 10 oldest living trees | MNN - Mother Nature Network

Cypress Tree in Motifs Cypress motifs are not exclusively observed on historical buildings, in cemeteries or religious grounds. That is reality. Memoirs is almost always an effort to restore dignity and honour.

The Cypress Tree is the life story of Kamin Mohammadi, an Iranian young woman, who lived in exile in England for most of her young life and went back to her country many years later, after the sudden evacuation, thirty years earlier, of her family took them to a place of refuge without allowing her to say a proper goodbye. It left her without closure for most of her life. She shares her memories of adapting to a new country as a little girl, her decision to become British,her embarrassment for her country of origin, the relationship with her parents who tried to keep her connected to her roots, which she vehemently rejected, only to be captured by Iran on her first visit as an adult.

She never visited the country in the interim. She shares the soul of Iran in its most grandiose as well as lowest moments in an honest and direct way. And being from Iran, she introduces so many aspects of the customs, history and culture that is not so well known by the majority of westerners.

The first surprise for me, was to read about the rivers and forests, the wildflowers, the abundance of everything. I hopped over to Google and got blown away by a country I never imagined looking like that. Or rather, I saw a part of the story that my ignorance prevented me from knowing.

The Cypress Tree: A Love Letter to Iran

I could have googled it a long time ago, right? The book is written for a western audience and it is done very well. But the violence against the country's own people by its leaders is also spotlighted. The prose is exceptional for a memoir. It is above all a complete package of Iran, it's people, history, and cultures. No stone was left unturned. It is also written with grace and dignity, no confrontational tone of any kind, which makes it an easy, informative experience. And of course, as usual, I brought the text to life by romping around in images from the internet.

Beauty, contrast and mystery galore: it's all there. Iran is much more than a moon landscapes of sand. Although I am dishing up many adjectives in my review, the text is an economical presentation of words by an experienced internationally known journalist as author. After all, I am neither a journalist nor a professional reviewer.

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The only boundaries in my reviews are the ones I set myself. Of course, like the country, it is not only a tale of moonshine and roses. There is a harsh aridness everywhere, sometimes even in the text. But after finishing reading it, the reader walks away with a totally different idea about a country, we mostly got to know through high-voltage media hype, distorting history enough to scar us for the rest of our lives, if we do not make time to read books such as The Cyprus Tree. There are multiple, unexpected surprises, such as the Hollywood buzz, the European fashionistas on a colorful romp, the men's infatuation with Clark Gable, and the Fred Astaire dance-crazes.

John Travolta's white wedding suit in Saturday Night Fever became a must-have for men as a wedding outfit. She relates the different influences embedded into the everyday lives of the different rulers, including Mongolia, Rome, Britain and America. A history of a family is presented in a picturesque way. Some of it we know, but most of it is a discovery. It is so rich, diverse, and often in harsh contrast to what we thought we knew.

The inhabitants themselves were exposed and forced to adopt foreign cultures in short periods of time that bulldozed them from one pole to the opposite with blood painting the streets red. A once colorful nation were violently manhandled to become a monochrome society full of fear and revolt.

However, women's lives have changed and optimism is present in their social as well as their advanced academic conduct. They are prospering despite everything happening to their country. There is a slow, quiet, consistent evolution taking place. Only one thing can set them back inexorably - another war. Noosheen lives her independent single life in Natanz, now notorious in the West as the site of one of Iran's nuclear reactors and likely candidate for Israeli or American bombing with nuclear-tipped weapons.

Should those bombs one day fall, they will wipe out not just the fabled domes of Esfahan and poison the land for thousands of years to come, they will also obliterate my sweet modest cousin and her quietly modern life. It contains all the elements expected in this genre: Real family experiences, political evolution, cultural reflections, and the human interest elements with emotions behind it.

It is also a short, but intense, glimpse into the role of oil. Come to think of it, has anybody ever tried to write a human impact book about this commodity apart from novels or memoirs like this? What kept me reading to the end was the consistent beautiful prose this memoir is presented with. A true gem! She had difficulty in choosing between her beloved Iran and her adopted motherland Britain.


At one point she thought it was safe to return and considered it seriously. She felt at home there. But in the end chose not to go, it was too dangerous. But she made a discovery about her bond to her mother, living permanently in London, which brought her peace and acceptance of her choice. Visiting her house I am returned to the Abbasian bosom, and her kitchen with its smells of saffron, rice and freshly washed herbs, the table groaning under a large basket filled with a cornucopia of fruit, is my haven.

Sedi her mother's name goes on supporting us with her indomitable strength, her ability to be flexible as circumstances require and to stand upright in the face of adversity. She sings to us and fills us with her love and her wicked humour and her food into which she pours all that is in her huge heart. After all these years of living in exile. Sedi is so much more to me than my mother - she is my mother tongue, my motherland, and to me, she is also my beloved Iran.

It's not a cheap thrill. It is a real life story presented to a world with honor and dignity.

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And one that should be read. January 24, View all 28 comments. Dec 01, Toni rated it really liked it. I actually paused this book after a few chapters and came back to it a few months later and I wish I read it sooner. Kamin transports you to a world that is exotic and beautiful and rich with culture. She takes you on her journey that is filled with heartache and longing and every page I turned made me yearn for my own motherland. Aug 25, Rusalka rated it liked it Shelves: originalbooks-around-the-world , ylto-rainbow , middle-east , non-fiction , politics , religion , own , migrants-diaspora-other , memoir , around-the-world.

I will preface this post by saying I did check all the screws on my chair before starting.