This piece in Edirne, in Western Turkey, is in poor condition, which allows the construction method to be seen: it is made from many relatively simple wooden pieces, slotted together, and then ‘framed’. [C.W.3]


This very fine, interlaced wood carving – with some fancy metalwork, below – is undated, and not now in perfect condition. It was, however, made by a truly outstanding master craftsman, and is now in the same tomb in Torbat Heydarieh as the dated piece. [C.W.2]


Wood does not often survive – but the wooden casing around this tomb in Torbat Heydarieh, in north-eastern Iran, is dated to AH987 – the equivalent of AD1579. [C.W.1]

Getting a ‘1446’ manuscript in your junk mail

Now we just get pizza delivery adverts, but in the 1870s it was manuscripts dated 1446! Or so says the recent BL blog about an overlooked seventeenth century Shahnameh. Apparently Sir George Birdwood, a special assistant working in the revenue and statistical department of the India Office, received a parcel addressed to him in the …

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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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