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Iranian Metalwork



Art of Metalwork in Iran



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The art of metalwork is special for horse-riding nations like the Parses”, L. Van den Bergh.


Exploring metal was the beginning of important changes in the civilization of man. Without any doubt, the first people, who were successful in making metal objects, were the pioneers of their age. In Iran, the art of metal work goes back to the pre-historic era. The people who were living on Iran’s plateau first proceeded to metal work because of necessity. But little by little this industry was combined with artistic creativity. Ancient discoveries in different parts of Iran tell us that the people of this land in addition to the exploration of different kinds of metals were skillful in making varieties of metallic objects and alloys. They also invented the first kind of copper forge in order to form metal.


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Iran metal work is the art of carving superb designs on various metals such as copper, brass, silver and gold. Isfahan is the main center for engraving. The artistic work of this course made by the artists is the glorious and undeniable indication of previous metal work of Iran and Isfahan, in particular. The historical discoveries belonging to the ancient times as the Sassanid (700 A.D.), the Seljuk – (100 A.D.) and the Safavid (1600 A.D.) dynasties indicate a few of the outstanding metal work periods. Resuming this art is due to the diligent attempts of the Late Ostad Mohammad Oraizi and the Late Ostad Mohammad Taghi Zufan during the past eighty years, which has been led to creating tens of outstanding and distinguished metal engravings on the one hand and training the new generation on the other and producing golden and silver-like goblets and materials of some metals as nickel silver and Copper in particular.


The artistic movement of the engravers hand and the harmonized blows of the hammer and engraving tool will be finally led to creating a unique job. However, the decorations and embellishments are going to be performed on material which has already been shaped with hammer and anvil by another skillful artist. Metalworking masters are those who work with different sorts of metal sheets shaping them in to beautiful dishes, vases, boxes, samovars, and etc. and preparing them to be engraved. Nowadays, due to the hard job and old getting of the masters, the preparation of the metal dishes is sometimes getting performed by machinery.


The intricate process of creating each and every piece requires extensive skill, talent, and patience extended by the artists. Numerous tools and materials, such as chisels, hand-made instruments, hammers, etc. are utilized by the artisans to emboss and engrave the most detailed and complex of designs on the various types of metals, etc., are some of the many aesthetic images hand-portrayed and carved on many kinds of Ghalam Zani pieces. Application of heat, waxes, dyes, sanding and polishing materials are some of the other processes used in creating these masterpieces. The enchanting Ghalam Zani handicrafts are made in the shape of decorative trays, plates vases, pitchers, etc. this magnificent art has a long history dating back to more than several thousand years ago. Excavated Ghalam Zani artifacts belonging to the Sassanian, Saljoughi, and Safavid eras are currently displayed at various museums across the world.


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Shiraz and Isfahan are major cities you can find Iran original engraving.