Iranian crafts and craftsmen

As I started to visit 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 dirty, and …

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Woodworking

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]

Woodworking

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]

Woodworking

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]

Wall Painting

This (poor condition) wallpainting is Safavid-era, from the tomb of Shaikh Safi in Ardabil. The designs and raised application are quite different from the earlier examples of wallpainting. [C.P.8]

Wall Painting

Since the blue-and-white porcelain arrived after the mid-fourteenth century, it may be that these designs in Torbat-e Jam actually derive from similarly-prestigious Chinese textiles. [C.P.7]

Wall Painting

These striking wallpaintings (probably from the first half of the fourteenth century) in Torbat-e Jam, NE Iran hint at the many cross-over influences from other media – here, perhaps, manuscript frontispieces and bookbindings. [C.P.5]

Wall Painting

This partially restored dome in Edirne, Western Turkey, shows the geometric challenge of painting domes – the simple dot design unfortunately has a few mistakes (right of centre). [C.P.4]

Wall Painting

This photograph shows how the design concept in the dome at Torbat Heydarieh extends down the walls, with muqarnas (stalactite vaulting) effects in the corners. [C.P.3]