|Playing time||30 minutes|
|Chovqan, a traditional Karabakh horse-riding game in the Republic of Azerbaijan|
|Region||Europe and North America|
|Inscription||2013 (8th session)|
|Chogān, a horse-riding game accompanied by music and storytelling|
|Inscription||2017 (12th session)|
Chovgan, Chowgan or Chogan (Persian: چوگان čōwgan), is a sporting team game with horses that originated in ancient Iran (Persia).It was considered an aristocratic game and held in a separate field, on specially trained horses. The game was widespread among the Asian peoples. It is played in Iran, Republic of Azerbaijan and among Tajiks and Uzbeks. It was later adopted in the Western World, known today as polo.
Chovgan originated in ancient Iran (Persia) and was a Persian national sport played extensively by the nobility. AD. Known as chovgan it is still played in the region today.Women played as well as men. Chovgan originated in the middle of the first millennium A.D., as a team game. It was very popular during the centuries in the Middle East. Fragments of the game were periodically portrayed in ancient miniatures, and also detailed descriptions and rules of the game were also given in the ancient manuscripts. Chogān is an Iranian traditional horse-riding game accompanied by music and storytelling; it has a history of over 2,000 years in Iran and has mostly been played in royal courts and urban fields. Some authors give dates as early as the 5th century BC (or earlier) to the 1st century AD for its origin by the Medes. Certainly, the earliest records of polo are Median (an ancient Iranian people). According to the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, polo i.e. chovgan was a Persian ball game (polo = chovgan in Middle Persian) and an important pastime in the court of the Sasanian Empire (224-651). During the period of the Parthian Empire (247 BC to 224 AD), the sport had great patronage under the kings and noblemen. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, polo (known as čowgān in Middle Persian, i.e. chovgan), was a Persian ball game and an important pastime in the court of the Sasanian Empire (224–651). It was also part of royal education for the Sasanian ruling class. Emperor Shapur II learnt to play polo when he was seven years old in 316
Englishmen had a great role in distribution and development of the game in Europe and the whole world. So chovgan – brought from India to England in the 19th century became more popular and addition of new rules into it favored quick spreading of this game in Europe and the USA. Namely on the initiative of Englishmen this game acquired its present name – polo and was included into program of the Olympic Games held in 1900, in Paris. 5 teams from three countries took part in the contests.
Chovgan, known as chowkan in the Sasanian Empire (Middle Persian: čowkān),was part of royal education for the Sasanian ruling class. The neighboring Eastern Romans adopted chovgan from the Sasanians and called it tzykanion, which derives from the Middle Persian word. During the reign of Theodosius II, the Roman imperial court started playing tzykanion in the tzykanisterion (polo stadium). By the time of the Tang dynasty (618–907), records of polo were well-established in China. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Late Antiquity, the popularity of polo in Tang China was "bolstered, no doubt, by the presence of the Sasanian court in exile".
Polo was at first a training game for cavalry units, usually the king's guard or other elite troops. [ citation needed ] Ferdowsi, the famed Iranian poet-historian, gives a number of accounts of royal chogan tournaments in his 9th century epic, Shahnameh (the Book of Kings). In the earliest account, Ferdowsi romanticizes an international match between Turanian force and the followers of Siyâvash, a legendary Iranian prince from the earliest centuries of the Empire; the poet is eloquent in his praise of Siyâvash's skills on the polo field. Ferdowsi also tells of Emperor Shapur II of the Sasanian dynasty of the 4th century who learned to play polo when he was only seven years old. Naqsh-i Jahan Square in Isfahan is in fact a polo field which was built by king Abbas I in the 17th century.In time polo became an Iranian national sport played normally by the nobility. Women as well as men played the game, as indicated by references to the queen and her ladies engaging King Khosrow II Parviz and his courtiers in the 6th century AD. Certainly Persian literature and art give us the richest accounts of polo in antiquity.
Sultan Qutb al-Din Aibak, the Turkic military slave from present-day Northern Afghanistan who then became Emperor of North India, ruled as an emperor for only four years, from 1206 to 1210 but died accidentally in 1210 playing polo. While he was playing a game of polo on horseback, his horse fell and Aibak was impaled on the pommel of his saddle. He was buried near the Anarkali bazaar in Lahore (which is now in Pakistan). Aibak's son Aram, died in 1211 CE , so Shams-ud-din Iltutmish, another military slave of Turkic ancestry who was married to Aibak's daughter, succeeded him as Sultan of Delhi.
From Persia, polo spread to the Byzantines (who called it tzykanion ), and after the Muslim conquests to the Ayyubid and Mameluke dynasties of Egypt and the Levant, whose elites favoured it above all other sports. Notable sultans such as Saladin and Baybars were known to play it and encourage it in their court.Polo sticks were features on the Mameluke precursor to modern day playing cards.
Later on Polo was passed from Persia to other parts of Asia including the Indian subcontinentand China, where it was very popular during the Tang Dynasty and frequently depicted in paintings and statues. Valuable for training cavalry, the game was played from Constantinople to Japan by the Middle Ages. It is known in the East as the Game of Kings. The name polo is said to have been derived from the Tibetan word "pulu", meaning ball. In 2017, Chogān in Islamic Republic of Iran was included in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List.
In Azerbaijan, chovqan (Azerbaijani : Çövkən) is considered a national sport. Various antique prints and ceramics suggest that the sport has a long history there. For example, a vessel with fragment pictures of a chovgan game was found during archaeological excavations in the Oran-Gala area, suggesting indirectly that the game existed during the 11th century around Beylagan city. Mentions of the chovgan game also appear in “Khosrow and Shirin”, a poem by the Persian poet and thinker Nizami Ganjavi, and in pages of the Turkic classic epic “Kitabi Dede Korkut”.
One of varieties of this game was broadly cultivated in Azerbaijan. Here two teams strive for scoring a goal with special clubs. Rules in the modern edition of the game are the following: two goals with a width of 3 meters with semi-circled areas with a radius of 6 meters are fixed in an enough big area. The game was held with a rubber or woven from leather belts ball. Clubs can be different in forms. In Azerbaijani horsemen they remind of shepherd's yarlyg.There are 6 riders in each team, 4 of whom act as attackers and two as fullbacks. The latter can play only on their half of the area. Goals can be scored behind the borders of penalty area. Duration of the game is 30 minutes in two periods. Traditionally Karabakh horses are the mount of choice thanks to their combination of agility and relatively calm temperament.
In 1979, a documentary called “Chovgan game”, shot by Azerbaijan's Jafar Jabbarly film studio, recorded the sport's rules and historical development. However, overall the Soviet era saw a decline of the sport to near 'oblivion'and the dislocations of the immediate post-Soviet period proved difficult for the breeding of horses. In recent years, however, the sport has rebounded somewhat. Since 2006, Azerbaijan holds a national tournament in December known as the President's Cup at the Republican Equestrian Tourism Center, at Dashyuz near Shaki. The first of these, held from December 22 to 25 2006, pitted teams from eight cities of Azerbaijan – Shaki, Agdam, Ağstafa, Balakən, Qakh, Gazakh, Oğuz and Zagatala with those from Aghstafa taking overall victory.
In 2013, chovqan in the Republic of Azerbaijan, was included in the UNESCO list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in need of urgent safeguarding
Persian, also known by its endonym Farsi, is a Western Iranian language belonging to the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian subdivision of the Indo-European languages. Persian is a pluricentric language predominantly spoken and used officially within Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan in three mutually intelligible standard varieties, namely Iranian Persian, Dari Persian and Tajiki Persian. It is also spoken natively in the Tajik variety by a significant population within Uzbekistan, as well as within other regions with a Persianate history in the cultural sphere of Greater Iran. It is written officially within Iran and Afghanistan in the Persian alphabet, a derivation of the Arabic script, and within Tajikistan in the Tajik alphabet, a derivation of Cyrillic.
Polo is a horseback ball game, a traditional field sport and one of the world's oldest known team sports. The game is played by two opposing teams with the objective of scoring using a long-handled wooden mallet to hit a small hard ball through the opposing team's goal. Each team has four mounted riders, and the game usually lasts one to two hours, divided into periods called chukkas or "chukkers".
The Persians are an Iranian ethnic group that make up over half the population of Iran. They share a common cultural system and are native speakers of the Persian language, as well as languages closely related to Persian.
Ctesiphon was an ancient city, located on the eastern bank of the Tigris, and about 35 kilometres (22 mi) southeast of present-day Baghdad. Ctesiphon served as a royal capital of the Iranian empire in the Parthian and Sasanian eras for over eight hundred years. Ctesiphon was the winter capital of the Sasanian Empire until the Muslim conquest of Persia in 651 AD.
Khosrow I, traditionally known by his epithet of Anushirvan, was the Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 531 to 579. He was the son and successor of Kavad I.
Kavad I was the Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 488 to 531, with a two or three-year interruption. A son of Peroz I, he was crowned by the nobles to replace his deposed and unpopular uncle Balash.
Yazdegerd I, also spelled Yazdgerd I and Yazdgird I, was the Sasanian King of Kings of Iran from 399 to 420. A son of Shapur III, he succeeded his brother Bahram IV after the latter's assassination.
The Shahnameh or Shahnama is a long epic poem written by the Persian poet Ferdowsi between c. 977 and 1010 CE and is the national epic of Greater Iran. Consisting of some 50,000 "distichs" or couplets, the Shahnameh is one of the world's longest epic poems. It tells mainly the mythical and to some extent the historical past of the Persian Empire from the creation of the world until the Muslim conquest in the seventh century. Iran, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the greater region influenced by Persian culture such as Armenia, Dagestan, Georgia, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan celebrate this national epic.
A Persianate society is a society that is based on or strongly influenced by the Persian language, culture, literature, art and/or identity.
Spāhbed is a Middle Persian title meaning "army chief" used chiefly in the Sasanian Empire. Originally there was a single spāhbed, called the Ērān-spāhbed, who functioned as the generalissimo of the Sasanian army. From the time of Khosrow I on, the office was split in four, with a spāhbed for each of the cardinal directions. After the Muslim conquest of Persia, the spāhbed of the East managed to retain his authority over the inaccessible mountainous region of Tabaristan on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea, where the title, often in its Islamic form ispahbadh, survived as a regnal title until the Mongol conquests of the 13th century. An equivalent title of Persian origin, ispahsālār, gained great currency across the Muslim world in the 10th–15th centuries.
The Roman–Persian Wars, also known as the Roman–Iranian Wars, were a series of conflicts between states of the Greco-Roman world and two successive Iranian empires: the Parthian and the Sasanian. Battles between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic began in 54 BC; wars began under the late Republic, and continued through the Roman and Sasanian empires. Various vassal kingdoms and allied nomadic nations in the form of buffer states and proxies also played a role. The wars were ended by the Arab Muslim Conquests, which led to the fall of the Sasanian Empire and huge territorial losses for the Byzantine Empire, shortly after the end of the last war between them.
Bahrām Chōbīn or Wahrām Chōbēn, also known by his epithet Mehrbandak, was a nobleman, general, and political leader of the late Sasanian Empire and briefly its ruler as Bahram VI.
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Touraj Daryaee is an Iranian Iranologist and historian. He currently works as the Maseeh Chair in Persian Studies and Culture and the director of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies at the University of California, Irvine.
The Sasanian or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians, and called the Neo-Persian Empire by historians, was the last Persian imperial dynasty before the Muslim conquest in the mid seventh century AD. Named after the House of Sasan, it endured for over four centuries, from 224 to 651 AD, making it the longest-lived Persian dynasty. The Sasanian Empire succeeded the Parthian Empire, and reestablished the Iranians as a superpower in late antiquity, alongside its neighbouring arch-rival, the Roman-Byzantine Empire.
The chang is a Persian musical instrument similar to a harp. It was very popular and used widely during the times of ancient Persia, especially during the Sasanian Dynasty where it was often played in the shahs' court. It was also played until the 19th century in the Ottoman Empire but has since disappeared from Turkish folk music.
The Aswārān, also spelled Asbārān and Savaran, was a cavalry force that formed the backbone of the army of the Sasanian Empire. They were provided by the aristocracy, were heavily armored, and ranged from archers to cataphracts.
The Daylamites or Dailamites were an Iranian people inhabiting the Daylam—the mountainous regions of northern Iran on the southwest coast of the Caspian Sea, now comprising the southeastern half of Gilan Province.
Mard ō mard was an ancient Iranian tradition of single combat, the Sasanian Empire being most known for using it. During a battle, the Sasanian troops would use taunts and war cries to provoke the enemy into a single duel with a Sasanian champion. The tradition meant much to the Sasanians—in 421, during Bahram V's war against the Romans in 421–422, Ardazanes, a member of the "Immortals", was in a single duel killed by the Roman comes Areobindus, which contributed to Bahram V's acceptance of the defeat in the war and making peace with the Romans.
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The game originated in Persia, and was generally played on horseback (...)
It is since these origins in Persia that the game has often been associated with the rich and noble of society; the game was played by Kings, Princes and Queens in Persia.