Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

The Lost Sanjaq

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Iran and the Caucasus

The seven sanjaqs, or sacred images of Malak Tawus, are the most concrete expression of Yezidism and considered the holiest of the holy ritual objects of that religion. Only a handful of non-Yezidis have ever seen one, and very little is known about them. The latter holds, in particular, true with regard to the so-called Moskovi-sanjaq. Before World War I it was sent to the Russian Empire (East Anatolia and the Transcaucasus) every year, but was reported lost in 1914.

Based on numerous interviews with Yezidis in Armenia, as well as on official correspondence between British, Iraqi, and Soviet authorities, the first part of the article reconstructs the odyssey of the Moskovi-sanjaq and the seven priests (qewwals) carrying it. It confirms that after 16 years of wandering through the Transcaucasus, five of the seven qewwals were eventually able to return via Odessa and London to the Yezidi heartland in Northern Iraq, but concludes that the Moskovi-sanjaq was ultimately lost in Georgia—confiscated by the Soviet authorities.

The second part of the paper describes the history of a second sanjaq, which the author discovered in a village near Yerevan, secretly kept and protected from the prying eyes of non-Yezidis by a sheikhly family. Although all tales and myths, explaining how this second sanjaq arrived in Armenia, are examined and analysed, the origin of that sacred image remains mysterious. The article further paints a detailed picture of the cult, which evolved around the sacred image in Armenia as well as of the—sometimes savage—fights over its possession and the struggle of the keepers of the sanjaq with the Soviet authorities. In addition to interviews with eyewitnesses, the author bases his findings on court decisions and minutes of the councils of Yezidi elders, as well as information found at Yezidi graveyards.

Affiliations: 1: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Tbilisi


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Iran and the Caucasus — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation