Architectonic · Earthly/Geo/Astro · Human-ities · Performativity · Social/Politics

Towers of Silence: Zoroastrian Architectures for the Ritual of Death

Zoroastrianism traditionally conceives death as a temporary triumph of evil over good: rushing into the body, the corpse demon contaminates everything it comes in contact with.

The flesh of a dead body being so unclean it can pollute everything, a set of rules had to be created in order to dispose of the corpse as safely as possible: as the natural elements of earth, air and water are sacred, the corpses were not to be thrown upon the water or interred. Cremation was also forbidden, as fire is the direct -purest- emanation of the divinity.

Hence a complex ritual was developed, in which the corpses would be eventually exposed to birds of prey and thus devoured, in a final act of charity.
After death every division of class and wealth disappeared, for all deceased would be treated equally.

A proper architectural typology was invented solely for the purpose of burial’s ritual: transported in the desert by nasellars (traditional zoroastrian pallbearers), the bodies of the deceased were then carted onto sandstone, forbidding hills, to be eventually disposed on cilindrical constructions called Towers of Silence.

Via Socks Studio. Please be aware that some of the images at the end of the post are extremely graphic. Viewer discretion is advised. Continue HERE

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