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Главная » 2012 » Сентябрь » 26 » Pomeri CHID from Research Unit of the University of Kentucky
Pomeri CHID from Research Unit of the University of Kentucky
One of the most important valuable things in  our culture is traditional Pamiri house, locally 
known as 'Chid'. It embodies elements of ancient Aryan philosophy mainly Zoroastrism, and 
after spreading Islam these elements and symbolic were transformed to Pamiri Ismaili tradition. 
At a first glance the structure of Pamiri cī̌d looks like a very simple, primitive - structure, but for 
us this house is like a temple, which is rich in religious and philosophical meaning and where a 
Pamirian  Ismaily practices his faith . The symbolism of specific structural features of the Pamiri 
house goes back over two and a half thousand years. 
The house itself is the symbol of the universe and also the place of private prayer and worship 
for Pamiri Ismaili people. We do not have and never had mosques in Pamir. So that Pamiri cī̌d is 
a mosque for us, where we live every day, pray, give birth and grow up our children.  
The Pamiri house is normally built of stones and plaster, with a flat roof on which we dry hay, 
apricots, mulberries and other fruits. Or before and may be in some places still women during 
warm weather in the flat roof of Pamiri cī̌d do different kinds of works; like spinning wool, 
knitting pamiri socks (jirīb) and even during summer period people slept on this roof.  
For the word house in Shughni Language exist three words: -čīd >*kata "house” ; xůnā > fr., tj. 
xona "house”  and mālā > arab.  mahalla "quarters”. For traditional Pamirian house we use just 
the word cī̌d, not xůnā or mālā. The last two are used for apartments, but the word cī̌d as well 
could be used for denomination not traditional houses. 
To the main part cī̌d could be joined different separated places: 
Pēxwoz  ̌ // Pēxoz –  ̌ front part of house with elevated places and pillars. The denomination of this 
part comes from fr., tj. pešvoz "meeting”, "to meet” and it based on the fact that owner of house 
meets in this place guests in order to say welcome words to them. 
Dālīʒ  - "hall”, "entrance-room”; an elongated hall, which goes to the main part - cī̌d and also to 
a separate room  qūšxůnā. The first part of this word in sg. qūš "join”, "add”; qūš čīdow "to 
add”, "to join”, in Vakhani Language, which is also one lf the Pamirian Languages  quš means 
"guest”, so that "added added to cī̌d a separate room” or "separate room for guests”. This  room 
mainly used for receiving  guests.  
Dupēčā - a compound noun of  two parts: fr., tj. du, sg. ðu  "two" and pēč  comes from pečida 
"wrapped” and suf. –ā, so that wrapped between two elevated places. 
When you enter cī̌d, you’ll notice five supporting the roof pillars. But there are also nine pillars, 
which are not visible and they  are inside the walls. These five and nine pillars together 
supporting the roof of Pamiri cī̌d. This construction of house is very suitable for Pamir relief. 
Because annually in Pamir could be registered a lot of weak and strong earthquakes and if during 
an earthquake the walls of  cī̌d  will damage these five visible and nine inside walls pillars will 
keep the roof of house.  
Five supporting pillars according to Zoroastrian symbolism correspond to the major 
Gods/Goddsses (Yazata/Eyzads) and according to the Ismaili tradition they personifies the five 
holy members of Hazratiy Muhammad’s (s) family – they are the prophet of Islam Hazraty 
Muhammad (s), his son-in-low and our first Imam Hazraty Aly (a), the daughter of Hazrati Muhammad (a) and the wife of Hazrati Aly (a) Bibi Fotimayi Zahro (a) and their sons Imam 
Hasan (a) and and Imam Huseyn (a). 
xā̌ sitan – personifies Surush and according to Ismaili tradition it personifies Hazrati Muhammad 
(a)  it is a pillar which protects the house from malicious spirits. This pillar is a symbol of faith, 
symbol of man’s power, symbol of eternal  life and blessedness of house. According to 
Zoroastrian thoughts this pillar also was a symbol of very valuable human being characteristics - 
discipline and obedience and the angle of discipline and obedience which was Surush was sent to 
earth by God in order to keep in order the usage of four first creations of God (earth, wind, water 
and fair) and God wants to be used these creations just for good intentions (добрые намерения) 
by people.
 In old times Aryan hanged argali horns on this pillar and called it horned pillar.  Zoroastrian 
believed that argali are holy animals, because in them was taken place eighth and ninth 
incarnation of a Victory angel Bahram. So that in these animals incarnates angel which brings 
victory, because of that their horns were hanged on this pillar. But nowadays hanging argali 
horns in some traditional houses in Pamir you can notes in crossbar between ….. and nowadays 
we also thing that argali are holy animals and I remember from childhood that when we had in 
our house argali meat and when  we had a food with this meat my mother after having meal 
collected all the bones and said that they shouldn’t be thrown in dirty place.  Not too far ago it 
was common tradition, that a person who enters the chid and even owner of house every time 
said welcome words to Xasitan. Before, the main pillar of Pomeri chid was made of juniper 
(арча, можжевельник). This tree according to Zoroastrian religion was the symbol of eternal 
life. The wood and branches of this tree contain a large amount of antibacterial properties and 
small good. Because of that we still make candles of this tree for religion holidays and funeral 
rites in the hope that the house will be cleaned of malicious spirits.  Near this pillar take place 
different types of traditional pamirian rites. Such as first putting to cradle new born child, 
dressing the bridegroom during wedding ceremony.            
Voɣǯ nêxsitan - personifies one of the Zoroastrian Goddesses Mehr, which was the God of love. 
The word mehr still exists in fr., tj with meaning "love”, and in Sg. L. we also use for word love 
mêr.  This pillar also symbols of one of the first creations of God - wind, according to Ismaili 
tradition it personifies our first Imam Ali (a). So, for us this pillar is a symbol of love, devotion 
and loyalty. This pillar is a symbol of welfare and prosperity of our house. Near this pillar take 
place some traditional wedding ceremonies; so that when a bridegroom brings the bride to his 
house they sit together near this pillar, in  the hope of being blessed with good fortune and 
Kicōrsitan – personifies the ancient Persian water goddess Anahita, it’s a fertility goddess, and 
patroness of women, as well as a goddess of war. The meaning of the word Anahita is "the 
immaculate one” (безукоризненно чистый).  So, as an element of God creature this pillar 
symbolizes water.  According to Zoroastrian myth this pillar symbolizes an angle – keeper of fire 
and cordiality and warmth of house.  So, this pillar situated very close to fireplace in traditional 
Pamiri cī̌d. It is the place of honour for the woman at her engagement ceremony. (in Pamir if 
there is a wedding in house and if there is a bride, she will be dressed near this pillar and during 
wedding ceremony at her father’s house sits and goes through nikoh ceremony near kicorsitan.) 
The area all around this pillar is a place of women. Here they have kicor - fireplace for cooking, 
here they nurse the child and could be busy with needlework. According to Ismaily tradition this pillar personifies the daughter of Prophet Muhammad and the wife of Imam Aly (a) - Bibi 
Fotimai Zahro (a).   
The fourth, Poiga-sitan, and fifth, Barnekh-sitan, pillars are joined together with a crossbar, to 
show the closeness of the relationship between Zamyod - earth and Azar –fire the resource of 
Poiga-sitan personifies Zamyad who was the goddess of Earth and according to Ismali thoughts 
it personifies Hazrati Hasan (a). The word Zamyad refers to the earth and it comes from Av. zam
earth + yad that which earth has begot. In Shughni Language we use the word zimāð for earth, 
which comes from this word. This pillar symbolizes earth, which is the main source of life and 
because of that this pillar is the longest one and you can notice the connection of it with poyga, 
the floor of  čīd. Actually all pillars are based on earth,  but it just visible in the case of 
poygāsitan, because this one is the symbol of  earth.  Also for Ariyan  it was the symbol of 
daybreak and sunset and ray of light.
Azar  – personifies the Zoroastrian goddess of fire and according to Ismaily thoughts it 
personifies Hazrati Husayn (a).  The word azar still in Farsi and Tajik languages means fire, but 
mainly they use changed version of this word otas. ( ̌ Atar  (ātar,  Avestan) is the  Zoroastrian
concept for "burning and unburning fire" and "visible and invisible fire" (Mirza, 1987:389)). 
This pillar is a symbol of heat and fire and together with Anahita they are patronesses of fire at 
Pamirian house.   Near this pillar carried out different  traditional rites, such as mourning 
ceremonies- with a ritual lamp or candle lit for three days, it is a place for private prayer and is 
considered the place of honour for the religious leader (Khalifa) or a chief guest. The chief guest 
will normally leave a small symbolic space next to him against the pillar showing that it is 
reserved for Khalifa. 
In an unrestricted sense, atar is heat - that is, thermal energy, manifest as fire or other luminous 
source when visible. In this sense, atar is an attribute of sources of heat and light, an adjectival 
form of nominative singular atarsh (ātarš). In later Zoroastrianism, atar (in middle Persian: ādar
or ādur) is iconographically conflated with fire itself, which in middle Persian is ataksh, one of 
the primary objects of Zoroastrian symbolism. The etymology of  atar is unknown (Boyce, 
2002:1). The yazata Atar is not of Indo-Iranian origin (Dhalla 1938:174). 
Bučkiɣī̌j  - a crossbar between Zamyad and Azar pillars is carved with Zoroastrian era symbols, 
frequently including a central depiction of the sun, and is sometimes decorated with the horns of 
Kicor -the place to make a fire, as thousand-year Zoroastrian traditions of the Pamiris say, is an 
especially sacred place, a kind of altar. The hearth heats the house, is used in cooking, especially 
for baking flat cakes. There are also special cases when sacrificial incenses are kindled in it. 
Zidůn-  "pantry” zi - žīv "hole”; suf.  –důn, which has the meaning  "contaner”. All over the 
walls of zidun before pamiri people made grain-bins, holes for keeping there different kinds of 
bins, wheat and other products. So, we think that the first part of this word zi comes from  žīv 
Čālak - fr., tj. čah "well”-ak a noun for denomination an elevated place near fire place, which 
has a small hole for keeping wood, in order to make fire in kicor.Růz /ʒ    - skylight in the main room is built with four concentric square box-type layers 
representing earth, water, wind and fire, the latter being the highest, is first touched by the sun's 
rays and the lowest one represents earth, so it is closest to earth. The skylight is the source of 
natural light and it is a path which connects the human beings with heaven. Before Pamirian 
people used the skylight for telling time. The face of Pamirian house normally directed to the 
south, so that they could tell by the usage of sunlight through skylight the exact time.    
The pillars support two main supporting beams representing the material and spiritual worlds 
and according to Ismaily tradition this two beams represent  Universal Reason (Aqli Kull) and 
Universal Soul (Nafsi Kull).The first beam runs across the Surush and Mehr pillars and the 
second across the remaining three pillars. 
The main beams support thirteen intermediary beams, six over the fireplace representing the six 
directions: east, west, north, south, upper and lower, and another seven representing the seven 
Amesha Spentas.  According to Ismaily religion this beams represent six prophets revered in 
Islam: Hazrati Adam, Hazrati Noah, Hazrati Abraham, Hazrati Moses, Hazrati  Jesus, and  
Hazrati Muhammad and seven representing the first seven Imams. The Ismailis are 'sevener' 
Muslims: for them Ismail was the seventh Imam. 
In the Zoroastrian religion, the number seven is of symbolic importance. God created seven 
heavenly bodies: Sun, Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus and Mercury.  
The total number of beams including the subsidiary beams varies between 49 and 72 according 
to the size of the house and local tradition. 
A poem about Pamirian House and the values of Pamiri people: 
Author:  Lidush Habib 
Murd mu Watan Vid 
Murd Biyixt ac ̌ ǎ Ɵ nist bakor murd mu Watan vid, 
Pomēr kūyenata chaxmayen, Pom ̌ ēr chaman vid. 
Murd na qasri amiren bakor, na taxti soyen,  ̌
Murd mu Pomēri cī̌d vidat mu pīnʒ sitan vid. 
Wuz xā̌ bat mēƟ yorab pi Xuðoyum, 
Mu xalq sēr vidat, puxy̌ ā wi tan vid. 
Lak mas diland ̌ īr vid mêri Mawlo, 
Fukwaxt masqati m ̌ āš Panj Tan vid. 
Lak māš isq tar Ali tar Muhammad,   ̌
Tar Fotima, Husaynat Hasan vid. 
Lidūšand vi diland mêri Mawlo, 
Mund lak mu Xuðoyat mu suxan vid. Some links to Pamiry culture: 
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