The Appearance of the Daena as a Maiden

Physical descriptions of the Daena from various Avestan and Zoroastrian texts:

A virgin maiden “of good shape, clad in white garments, of fifteen years, who is fair on all the sides, by whom the soul is gladdened” (Bundahishn)

“majestic and holy, full of youth, crowned with a diadem, benevolent and strong”(Vendidad)

“beautiful, bright, with rosy [or white] arms, strong, majestic, with an upright and slender physique, an admirable body, noble, of illustrious race, fifteen years of age, with a body brighter than the brightest of creatures” (Hadokht Nask)

“adorned with grandeur, excellence, beauty, emitting a fragrant scent, triumphant, dominating her enemies” (Hadokht Nask)

She has been described in some Hadokht Nask translations as “high-breasted” or “thick-breasted”.

“A young maiden, beautiful, strong, majestic, with a large [tall] belt, an upright and slender physique, a noble and bright face, wearing low shoes and a shining diadem of gold.”(Yasht 5, Hymn to the Waters)

“The honorable waters… who sits upon her throne, speaking, teaching, in the form of a young maiden, beautiful, strong, majestic, with a large belt, holding high her brilliant face, adorned with a most beautiful mantle, covered with gold adornments, with baresma (a wand-like bundle of holy sticks) in hand, in accordance with the rule, and four-sided golden earrings, hanging and swaying. She wears an emerald on her beautiful necklace. Anahita* of the waters! Nobly adorned, she girds her waist tightly to give her breasts a graceful and charming form. On her head she wears a diadem with a golden luster and one hundred stars with eight rays; it is charming, adorned with fillets, bright, round, made with artistry. She wears a beaver-skin garment made from a beaver chosen from three hundred beavers, born among four (ie. in good conditions), the most beautiful and well-colored of all the beavers that live under the water, shining in lustrous gold and silver like beaver skin worked at the right time.” (Yasht 5, Hymn to the Waters)

“a beautiful young maiden, very strong, majestic, with a large belt, holding high her brilliant face, noble.” (Yasht 13, Hymn to Good Reward)

“Then his own Daena and deeds were a form of maiden beautiful to behold, well-grown [i.e. she grew up in virtue], with shapely breasts, lovable to the heart and to the soul; whose body is so brilliant that the sight is very pleasant and the contemplation of it is very desirable.” (Book of Arda Viraf)

*The etymological meaning of Anahita seems to be ‘pure, immaculate’. Further reading.


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