Metallurgy

Metallurgy

Metallurgy and the arts connected to it, from the most ancient times up to the modern ones, produced remarkable works such as the hard bronzes of Lorestān, the jewels and the Achaemenid cups, precious gold and silver plates of the Samanid period, unequaled works of Islamic period, bronzes and unrivaled crosslinked works zarih (shining and solemn steel structure inside mausoleums) of sacred places.

The metal works according to the type of processing are divided into: kuftegari (typing), in plates and in khamkāri (bending phase which ensures the desired shape). Also various decorations apply to each of them having different methods.

The carving, the gold plating, the watermark, the application of turquoise, the engraving, the manufacture of locks and accessories, jewelry, knives, enamelling and construction of zarih and doors to sacred places are among the genres of the art of metal, some of which have a method of processing and decoration combined like the processing of jewelry and the aforementioned construction of zarih and of doors to sacred places.

The first objects made of metal included some small hammered copper that date back to the first half of the fourth millennium. Shush is one of the archaeological sites where many metal works have been found as copper instruments and weapons.

The Bronze Age begins around 2500 and lasts until 1500 BC. Among the works of this period, numerous examples have been found in the area of ​​Hasanlu, located in the north-west of Iran. Also works and many bronze objects including reins, axes, spear points, quiver coverings, incense diffusers etc. have come down to us from Lorestān and date back to the first millennium BC

These objects present decorations with figures of mythological animals, are combined drawings of man and animal or zoomorphic. In the first millennium BC the metal works were of particular importance and in this regard we can mention the remarkable ones of Mārlik. One of the most important examples of metallurgy in the Achaemenid period is a golden bowl with a pair of winged chamois handles that is considered among the precious and valuable metal works of this period, as well as the beautiful cups called Takuk (Ritun) .

As for the other uses of the metal there is coin coining that was widespread since the Achaemenid period and in the course of history underwent many changes. Even the creation of jewelry has always had a particular importance and was widespread at least from the second millennium BC in Iran and was made with the use of metals and precious stones.

In perfecting this art, it is also necessary to mention the art of filigree whose antiquity probably dates back to the era of the Medes and Achaemenids who used gold and silver threads. As mentioned, the production of bowls of precious metals in the Achaemenid and Sassanid periods had a notable increase.

Among the most famous metal bowls of the Sassanid period we can mention the "Khosrow cup". With the advent of Islam for a while the bronze became the substitute for gold and silver and the metallurgists with the use of this alloy continued to produce utensils such as trays and carafes with forms of animals and birds.

With the rise to power of the Seljuks in the east of Iran began the flourishing period of Islamic metallurgy in which most of the silver vessels (in particular manufactured in the fifth and sixth centuries of the Hegira) have a particular value.

Even the enamelling spreads during this period. Always next to the bronze works appear precious works. The Iranian metallurgists in the creation of lattice and weaving in cross-linked bowls reach high levels and create with great skill objects such as candelabras and incense burners in the shape of animals and birds. 

Also the bronze working and the decoration of silver and copper with stones acquired particular importance in the fifth and sixth centuries of the Hegira and the metallurgi perfected bronze objects combined with other metals.

The decoration with jewels of brass and bronze objects in the Safavid period flourishes again and the copper vessels are often cleaned to shine like silver. At the same time, iron and steel were also used in the production of metal objects and also in their decoration.

The metallurges of the Safavid period became very skilled in the use of iron and steel, making very beautiful works such as belts, tablets and symbols. From the end of the Safavid period onwards we gradually witness metallurgy in Iran, so that the metal works of the periods of the Afsharids, the Zand and the Qajari are absolutely not comparable with the wonderful ones from the fifth to the eleventh century AD 

Among the interesting and noteworthy examples of the qajaro period there are numerous carved works that were built and posted at the doors of the Imamzadeh and other sacred places. The most important attraction of the objects carved in this period consists in the drawings not iSlim like flowers intertwined with images of birds and animals, in the design of intertwined and reticulated flowers and vines. From the twelfth century onwards appear the enamelled and filigree works which are notable and noteworthy examples.

 

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Craftmanship

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