7 Important Iran Handicrafts

The History of Iranian Handicrafts

Array of Iranian Handicrafts

Iranian handicrafts have been around for quite a while now. From the early clay pots made during the dawn of civilization to the more advanced crafts that flourished primarily during the Safavid era, Iranians have excelled in producing some of the most high-quality handicrafts that serve both a functional purpose and a decorative one. That’s exactly why tourists who come to our country become so interested in our handicrafts, and often want to purchase some as souvenirs or memorabilia.

Isfahan is often known as one of the cornerstones of Iranian handicrafts; according to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network: “Considered a hub for crafts and folk art, Isfahan’s creative sector comprises the country’s most specialized craftspeople in 167 different disciplines, including carpet weaving, metalwork, woodwork, ceramics, painting and inlay works of various kinds. According to Isfahan Territorial Planning, at least 9,000 craft and folk art workshops and enterprises contribute to the Isfahan economy, the majority of which are located in the historical Naqsh-e Jahan Square”. That’s why in this article, we’ll focus more on the handicrafts that are produced in Isfahan!

We’d love to talk to you about Iranian culture when you come to Mahbibi Hostel, and be sure to check our Instagram, because who knows what events we may have! Also, if you’re coming to Isfahan, you can read about the best things to do in the city following this link and Isfahan hostels following this one!

One more thing, if you want to learn more about this matter, and especially if you want to know how to purchase a carpet, you can contact an expert! +989917703918

The Diverse Range of Handicrafts in Iran

Iranian handicrafts come in plenty of disciplines: Ceramics, calligraphy, woodwork and metalwork, painting, etc. This diversity is particularly evident when you visit an Iranian Bazaar; You’ll find yourself surrounded by beautiful carpets, copper works, enameled silver, jewelry, and all kinds of stuff that just tempt you to make a purchase. We’re going to dedicate this section to helping you become acquainted with these crafts.

Mina Kari: Isfahan’s Trademark Enameling

A Mina Kari Plate
A Mina Kari Plate

Mina Kari is the process of melting enamel on various surfaces (most often silver, although other metals like copper and even ceramics can also be used in Mina Kari) and is a craft that dates back to the Sassanid era. It’s mostly used in jewelry and artifacts like vases and bowls. Mina Kari’s center is in Isfahan, where you can find some of the finest enameled handicrafts.

Khatam Kari: The Iranian Version of Marquetry

Two Khatam Kari Boxes
Two Khatam Kari Boxes

Another important discipline in Iran Handicrafts is Khatam Kari, which is the Persian version of marquetry. In Khatam Kari, wooden (or metallic) surfaces are decorated with finely cut pieces of wood (ebony, orange, rose, etc.), camel bones or ivory, and metal (brass, silver, gold, etc.). In Khatam Kari, a craft that especially grew during the Safavid era (mainly in Isfahan, Shiraz, and Kerman), these fragments form geometrical motifs that decorate the surfaces of ornate boxes, pen holders, vases, and other artifacts.

Ghalamzani: Metal Engraving in Iran Handicrafts

A Ghalamzani Box
A Ghalamzani Box

Isfahan is the central hub for another one of the important Persian handicrafts: Ghalamzani. Similar to Mina Kari, the craft of metal engraving dates back to the Sassanid era, but saw its true potential fulfilled during the reign of Safavid kings. In Ghalamzani, there are several different methods, the most notable of which being Kuftehgari. The most common metals used in the process are copper, brass, silver, and gold.

Firouzeh Koubi: Turquoise Inlaying

A Set of Firouzeh Koubi Handicrafts
A Set of Firouzeh Koubi Handicrafts

The craft of Firouzeh Koubi is perhaps one of the latest additions to Iranian handicrafts and is pretty much exclusively practiced in Isfahan. The process involves inlaying turquoise stones on -most frequently- copper and is used to decorate different vessels as well as jewelry.

Persian Miniature: The 800-Year-Old Persian Handicrafts

A Page of Persian Miniatures
A Page of Persian Miniatures

One of the finest components of Iranian arts and crafts is the miniatures, or as we call them, Negar Gari. With many different schools and disciplines, starting from the reign of the Abbasids over Iran and the school of Baghdad to the Western-influenced Qajar school, there’s just a lot to offer.

Iran Handicrafts & Textiles

While carpet weaving is a recognized handicraft in Iran (read all about Persian carpets here), hand-printed textiles are a perhaps lesser-known form.

Ghalamkar: The Hand-Printed Textile

Ghalamkar Textile

Using wooden stamps to print different patterns and motifs on fabric results in some beautiful textiles that are called Ghalamkar. This kind of textile is also most commonly produced in Isfahan.

Termeh: The Quilted Textile

Termeh Handicrafts

Though opinions about the origin of Termeh are split, with some people crediting this handicraft to Kashmir and others to Iran, what is certain is that Iranian artisans have excelled in creating this textile since the Safavid era.

Buying Iranian Handicrafts

Iranian Handicrafts in Isfahan Bazaar
Iranian Handicrafts in Isfahan Bazaar

The most common hub for purchasing Iranian handicrafts is the grand bazaar of any major city. As previously discussed, Isfahan’s Naghshe Jahan Square is particularly famous for its concentration of craftspeople, but the problem is that tourists may find items sold there a bit above their budget.

If you find yourself in need of any help or consultation regarding the purchase of handicrafts, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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