Reflections on the diversity and religious functions of holy places and sacred stones among Bakhtiari nomads
Both ethnographic and anthropological studies clearly illustrate the intensely complex interplay between people’s identities, emotions, experiences and desires, and the use of material culture in primary and secondary mortuary practices. Analyses of the space and place of death, however, can correspond closely to the scales of activity and perception that would have been meaningful to people in the past. People do not often seek to create central tendencies or temporal trends through their actions, but they do create and subsequently react to placement of the dead. Focus on the spatial representation of death demands recognition of the perceptions and ritual actions of the living, and draws attention to the ongoing role and underlying meaning of the dead. In this article I try to develop for the first time some general aspects of sacred material culture and mortuary landscape of haftalang Bakhtiari nomads, a group of pastoral tribes of the Zāgros mountains in Iran.