عنوان مقاله [English]
One of the important research fields in literary research, which helps us better and more deeply understand the literary works is to investigate the links between art and literature and the exchanges that have existed between these two big branches of human sciences since ancient times, particularly the effect that art and its subcategories have had on literary evolution throughout history. One of such fields on which little research has been done is investigating the inspiring and enriching effect of performing arts in literature. One type of performing art that has a long history in the culture of Iran and Arab countries is the puppet show which has a dominant presence in Persian and Arabic literature, especially mystical literature, and mystics have benefited from it as a vehicle to explain their mystic thoughts.
The current research has made an effort to fulfill the purpose of classic research on the relationship between art and literature and investigate one of the unique aspects in the mystical literature, that is the creative and artistic approach of Sufi masters to the art of puppet show and benefiting from that as a way to express the unspeakable and enigmatic perceptions of mysticism. Also, the present research has tried to clarify the historical roots of the use of the symbolic image of the puppet show in explaining ontological issues and disclose the evolution of this cryptic image in mystical literature.
However, the period of this research is restricted from the 4th/10th to the 9th /15th century. The reason behind selecting this historical period is that this epoch is the period of the doom of the mystic thoughts and appearance of eminent mystics and the creation of mystical masterpieces in Arabic and Persian literature. But in later centuries, there is a little sign of previous mystics' Revelations and creation of past thinkers has descended to repeated and formulaic images.
This raised this question in the authors' minds that why some mystics have taken hold of this performing art. Trying to find the answer to that question raised other questions in the authors' mind: why has the puppet show, especially the shadow play, become an opportunity for mystics to display their creative imagination? To explain which of their mystic thoughts did mystics use this performing art? What is the historical background of the symbolic image of the puppet show in ontological issues? Making an effort to reach a suitable response to such questions persuaded us to investigate the position of the symbolic image of the puppet show, especially the shadow play, in mystic thoughts in independent research and to figure out the reason for this intelligent selection by mystics.
2. Discussion and analysis
The puppet show, which was more folkloric by almost fourth century AH, gradually entered the literary and mystic language and was suddenly welcomed by mystics due to their “aesthetic and artistic view of religion”. They found everything associated with spiritual experiences, and because of their spiritual needs and similarity between materialistic things and their supreme mystic experiences, they would make an effort to depict a part of the spiritual world in the form of the materialistic world. Therefore, they did not consider this performing art a means of entertainment. They had an artistic and mystic view of that and had made it an opportunity to display their imaginations by their artistic view and intelligent selection.
In Conclusion, the main reason behind the selection of the puppet show by mystics was that such a show could be considered an appropriate tool that has depicted the thought system of Ibn Arabi and other mystics, whose thoughts were in line with him, in the form of an interwoven set of signs using a symbolic language. Because they sought a mystic purpose behind the puppet's movements and their relationship with the puppeteer who was hidden behind the screen and moved them with invisible strings or cast their shadows on the screen with light.
They also considered that simple show with a symbolic image to be the best tool to explain their complicated mystic perceptions and thoughts from the world of mystic journey and tried to make hard-to-grasp mystic concepts as simple as possible for their audience and followers of mysticism by taking advantage of symbols and imagery. So, it is not surprising that despite its simplicity and informality, the puppet show entered mysticism, became known as one of the areas in which mystics could depict their creative thoughts, and was welcomed by mystics who sought supreme truths of the spiritual world through the simplest materialistic things and used everything to interpret their revelations.
In General, based on mystics' quotes, we concluded that pantheism, the unity of divine acts, and explaining the position of heavenly spheres in controlling the world's affairs formed three functions of the symbolic image of the puppet show, especially the shadow play.
Apparently, the statement of Ibn Hazm is the earliest in using the performing arts to express the impermanence of the world. Although the creation of past thinkers such as Ibn Hazm and Ghazali have benefited from this symbolic image, the boom in the usage of this symbolic image in Islamic mysticism dates back to Ibn Arabi who has most probably promoted the usage of this performing art among mystics. After him, many mystics have taken advantage of this image among which the symbolic image of Rumi in Persian literature and Ibn Fariz in Arabic literature seem to be the most imaginative and effective.