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Nanai in the Manichaean texts (1)

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03 Religious festivals, cults, rituals and practices

01 Religious and ideological doctrines and imagery

03 Religious festivals, cults, rituals and practices

Sasanid Empire
Manichaean texts
Sogdian culture

In the Sogdian Manichaean fragment M 549 the lady Nan(a), (nndb’mbn), appears in a funerary scene of mourning upon a bridge. The text reads: “And the lady Nan(a), accompanied by her woman, walks on to the bridge, they smash the vessels, loud they call out, they weep, tear (their garments), pull out (their hairs), and throw themselves to the ground” (Henning 1944: 144). The scene has been interpreted by Henning (1965: 252n67) as a Central Asian parallel to the Nana’s mourning for the death of Adonis-Tammuz. This kind of a Central Asian Adonia took place at the height of the summer, according to the Chinese calendar, in the seventh month which began at the end of July or in August. According to the etymology proposed by Xavier Tremblay, the Sogdian divine name Txs’yc can be interpreted as “the Recurrent; he who will return” and then denoting a Central Asian counterpart of Tammuz.


Grenet and Marshak 1998, 19-20Grenet F. and B. Marshak. “Le mythe de Nana dans l'art de la Sogdiane.” Arts Asiatiques 53 (1998) 5-20.
Henning 1944, 144Henning, W. B. “The murder of the Magi.” Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society (1944) 133-144.
Henning 1965, 252n67Henning, W. B. “A Sogdian god.” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 28 (1965) 242-254. [JSTOR (requires subscription)]

Andrea Piras

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