Wooden goat (teke) puppet of Azerbaijan region of Iran. Tekam (takam, “my billy goat”) or tekam gardani is a ritual to welcome spring at Nowrouz (New Year). A wooden goat puppet represents the billy goat that leads the flock to pasture. The man who dances the figure is called tekam chi and he sings melodies specific to the event in the Iranian Azeri language (see also Skirted Hobby Horse).
The body of the goat is made of wood and is covered in red velvet or red fabric. It is decorated with spangles, bells, coins, colourful fabrics, and mirrors. Bells and coins are meant to bring people from their homes when they hear the rhythmic sound from the dancing figure of the goat. Two mirrors, symbolizing goodness and blessings, are attached to the goat’s sides and are reminiscent of weddings where a mirror is sent to the new home before other gifts. The red colour of the goat’s velvet reminds one of brides’ traditional red clothing. In the past, and even today, in Azerbaijan and Kurdistan, a bride would wear red (or pink) clothing, sometimes a face veil – the traditional costumes of Iranian tribes. The goat, like the bride, is thus a symbol of hope and happiness.
- Azimpour, Poupak. Iranian Ritual and Traditional Puppets and Puppet Shows Dictionary. Tehran, Iran: Namayesh Publications, 2010.