In this article, we will review 3 best Persian handicrafts. Minakari, Termeh, and ceramic are the most popular handicrafts of Iran.
Many sources in Persian speak of minakari as the art of fire and earth; the actual meaning, however, is painting with Mina (azure in Persian.) The Azure coloring represents a bright blue sky and the sea exhorting freedom, intuition, imagination, inspiration, and wisdom. This art is deeply rooted in an ancient civilization; a pair of golden minakari earring estimated to belong to 800 BC has been found in Nahavand, in central Iran.
There are displays of minakari artifacts in the British Museum, from the Achaemenids (500 B.C). Other Museums in Berlin and Museum New York exhibit of minakari from Sasanian Empire (224 to 651 AD).
Termah is a highly intricately hand woven Persian textile dating back to the Achaemenids (500 B.C.) This fabric is made out of highly refined wool, cotton, silk and in its more luxurious version produced during the Safavid 18th century with gold and/or silver. Termeh is produced in an array of vibrant colors, jujube red, green, and turquoise blue, sun yellow and black. Similar to the Persian carpet, Termeh dyes have traditionally come from plants and vegetables. The production of termeh is highly sophisticated it can take up to one day to produce a 10-12 inches . This fabric enjoys interesting and unique patterns specific to the Persian culture and that of the Silk Road/Aryan Trade. One can still find certain type of termeh in its original cottage industry production in more remote areas where it is organically intertwined with people’s local cultural lives. However, termah today is more commonly used for modern decor such as curtains, bedspreads, table tops cover & mats, cushion covers and as well as wall hangs.
Persian ceramic art is deeply rooted in the long historical civilization of the region dating back to 10-12 B.C. These excavations’ findings are remains of what has been buried with the dead. More recent history shows traces of the art from the time of the Achaemenids (500 B.C.) Potteries and ceramics have gone through various phases of Persian historical landmarks. Yet, perhaps one of the interesting façade of the art has been its closeness to the female culture, as men had been preoccupied with being warriors and hunters, pottery and later ceramic has been more in tuned with women’s domestic sphere thus the feminine element has played an augmenting role in the refinement of the art. There are other intriguing aspects to the art, for instance the use of animal shapes in the makings of pottery and ceramic e.g, in the case of drinking cups as an example certain animal shapes have believed to give power to the human being who drink from them. The artistic history of Persian ceramics has been vibrant and evolutionary, for instance, during the Safavid 18th century, porcelain from China enriched a particular type of the art in the modern time. Today, Persian ceramic maintains its uniqueness while being enhanced by other cultural inspirations.
Author: Roksana Behramitash, Ph. D