Thank you for the kind words!
I leave Dino's last question to the archeologists and anthropologists.
What is clear however is that the fertility rituals coupled with explicitly sexual images disappeared in Iranian culture following the move from pre-Zoroastrian polytheism to Zoroastrianism monotheism (by contrast, the Indians kept the lingams in the Hindu temples as they kept polytheism too).
But contrary to the move from Paganism to Christianity in Europe and Islam in the Middle East - and its consequent turning of sexuality into a moralistic taboo - the change in Iranian culture had nothing to do with moralizing against sexual behavior. It was just that with the arrival of Zoroastrianism, explicit sexual images disappeared from religious rituals.
Fertility instead became a part of the cycle of the seasons, for example through the prominence of the nowruz table. because it was not worshipped but rather seen as a PRODUCT of what was worshipped or celebrated: Wise Mind!
2009/12/16 ardeshir farhmand
wonderful analysis alexander, very well put.
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 1:08 AM, Alexander Bard
To begin with, the whole concept of "pornography" is a western and modern concept.
The idea that material which is deemed unsuitable for public viewing needs a category all its own, which is what pornography is, needs a Christian or Post-Christian or Islamic culture deeming such material as immoral (all pictures of humans are immoral in Islam) to have a category called pornography to begin with.
Consequently, in Indo-European cultures, where you have lingams in just about every temple, the whole point with this separation of decent and indecent pictures becomes irrelevant. To my knowledge, Zoroastrians have never had any problem with such material, many Zoroastrians are perfectly comfortable for example visiting lingam temples in India. So any values in terms of opposition to pornography have little or no Zoroastrian origin, but should rather be regarded as "petit-bourgeois morality" imported from westerners or from Islam.
Basically, categories like "art", "poetry", "literature", and even "pornography" (whatever that is) are regarded as secular expressions of culture with little or no effect on religion or philosophy. And this counts for all cultures east of "The Abrahamic Domain". China and Japan as much as India or Iran. But THAT is of course sociologically interesting in itself.
For example: It was the British colonizers who introduced "sexual taboos" in India (with the 19th century invention of the category of pornography being the sexual taboo for visual material), this was not a morality inherent to a Hindu culture full of sexually explicit visualisations.
2009/12/15 Special Kain
I watched Bill Condon's film «Kinsey» about the American zoologist Albert C. Kinsey (played by Liam Neeson) last night. One statement made by the actor (as Dr. Kinsey) was quite interesting: We can study different cultures through their pornography. So is there anything known about Zoroastrian pornography or sexual ethics?
Sociology has ignored pornography, because it's sort of stigmatizing to conduct research on how pornography has changed over time and how it has affected societies and their members. There has been some research on how media content (sex on TV, YouPorn, online dating websites etc.) affects teenagers and adults when it comes to their attitude towards sexuality and romance and their behaviors.