Ceramic Tiling

‘Cutting’ each precisely curved element to make up faience is painstaking work. These two men are ‘sanding’ individual pieces to make sure they are an exact fit. The building they are working on, in Taybad, in NE Iran, has soaring expanses of faience work that is slowly being restored. [C.T.5]

Ceramic Tiling

The small pieces making up the faience can be seen here: with the carefully drawn out paper guides stuck on tiles to left; the face-down pieces at bottom, waiting to be attached together; and the perfectly interlocking pieces at left (with some of the paper still to be removed). [C.T.4]

Ceramic Tiling

This ustad is part of the team restoring the faience tiles inset into this wall. He has to first remove the glazed tiles – without damaging any of the surrounding graffiti, since some of this is historically important in its own right. [C.T.3]

Ceramic Tiling

This ustad (master craftsman) is using a squared and scaled plan for the banna-i, very similar to those seen in some Mughal book paintings. [C.T.2]

Ceramic Tiling

Many methods of ornamental tiling are traditionally used in Iran: includingbanna-i, faience, lustre, cuerda seca, as well as various monochrome and blue and white tiles. This image shows banna-i tiling, which uses alternating small glazed and plain tiles to make patterns or, top left, words. Banna-i tiling is constructed by laying the pieces of tile face down, as shown here. …

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How to create, and destroy, mosaic tiling

The madrese (religious school) at Khargird, in Khorasan (built 1438-45), is a showpiece of Timurid decorative art. Click here to see a short walk-through film I made (just learning!) about the six different sorts of tiles, some elegantly geometrical wallpaintings and some amazing plaster effects in the muqarnas (stalactite vaultings). Professor Grube and I discussed …

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Crafts & Craftsmen of Iran

As I started to visit buildings in Iran, I started to meet Iranian craftsmen – often high up on rudimentary scaffolding. I also started to realise how little is understood about their impressive skills and knowledge. With many master craftmen (ustads) relatively old, and relatively few young men now wanting to undergo the lengthy, often …

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Ardabil – in 1896

A while ago, I included details from an 1850s description of the famous Ardabil collection of ceramics being used for charitable feasts for the poor – and also referenced some (copyrighted) images showing the ceramic collection looking very like piles of washing up after a big party ( in Pope’s catalogue from 1956). Now the …

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