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In The Name Of God

Iran, Land of Arts

·        IRAN


·        SCRIPT

·        PAINTING

·        CARPET

·        MOARRAGH

·        GHALAMKAR


·        KHATAM

·        GLASS

·        KILIM

·        NEEDLE – LACE


Being one of the most ancient civilizations of the world, Iran enjoys a rich cultural heritage of both the pre and post Islamic era. Iranian culture, better known as the Persian culture has for centuries influenced the world’s culture but at the same time, has preserved certain peculiarities of the pre-Islamic era, giving birth to a new culture popularly known as the Islamic - Iranian culture.

Historians and archaeologists believe that the civilization of Iran is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. The archaeological excavations have traced the history of Iranian art as far back as the Stone Age.

No aspect of the Iranian civilization has proved so influential as the Iranian Art which within the framework of its traditions has produced masterpieces of the world renown. From East Asia up to France and Spain the greatness of the Iranian Art has been recognized and acknowledged and today every museum owns several specimens of this distinguished Artistic works.

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Iranian arts are closely related to each other and as a whole represents a common culture. The architecture of historical sites in Iran, in the first place has always had a religious and spiritual meaning.

During ages, Iranian architecture has undergone various changes structurally. After prevalence of Islam in Iran the architecture was exposed to the great changes. The Jame mosque in Isfahan, shows the power and perfection of Saljoughi architecture, so that the most beautiful buildings and mosques have built in this period.

Decorations including the design of flowers & leaves in various manner, symmetrical and geometrical designs which are made in different styles of bricklaying, working glazed tile and plaster moulding are totally simple and glorious.

Architectural activities in Iran are not bound to religious buildings and palaces. Castles, bazaar, carvan seraii and gardens have been designed and built according to the climatic condition in a perfect and unique style.

The most beautiful and outstanding works of Iranian architecture can be found in the cities like Ghazvin, Yazd, Isfahan, Tabriz and Mashad.

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It is up to ten century that Iranian script is the expression of Iranians art of Calligraphy, seven alternative centuries Iranian scripts have had its evolution and about the tenth century it reached its beauty and elevation Mohammad Beizany Shirazy (ebn-e Moghla) who lived in third and fourth Century A.H. in addition to compelete proficiency of caligraphy of koofy script, invented the scripts of Mohaghegh, Reiban, Sols, Naskh, Toghie, Regha and Taligh.

In the seventh century A.H. Mir Ali Tabrizy combined the Naskh and Taligh styles and invented the beautiful script of Nastaligh which is customary and nice Persian script. Then Shekasteh Nastaligh has been invented and Darvish Abdolmajid is known for its real professor.

The masterpieces of calligraphy not only is used in Koran, poetical works and documents, but also is seen in decorative Islamic artistic works like in historical buildings, vessels, other things and even carpet weaving and cloth weaving.

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The precedence of painting in Iran reach the book of Manes the prophet. The designs of Takht-Jamshid and the remaining of Sassany and Ashkany traces and the pictures of Safavieh and Ghajareeh period are the samples of painting of Irans history. The most important and attractive method of Iran’s painting which is used to illustrate the poetical works is miniature which in elegance, beauty, color and delicacy is unique. In addition to this the design of the cover of the books, boxs, shomease and etc has been customary.

Previously all of the instruments of painting like paper, dye and pen supplied in special working place and the artist with the help of natural durable and beautiful colors, gold and silver made the most beautiful and various coloring and paintings.

Some works of the biggest Iranian painters belonging to Kamaledin Behzad, Agha Mirak Isfahany, Soltan Mohammad Naghash, Mir Seied Ali and Reza Abbasi are kept in big Museums of Iran and other countries.

Nowaday there is a story behind some of the miniatures, so the subjects of religion and litrature are based for many of miniatures.

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Iranian carpet is the best sample of Iranians elegance and delicacy. The beauty of Iran’s carpet is known all over the world and in the history of Iran the luminosity of this art is obvious. The highest point of this luminosity is in period of Safavieh which used the best carpet weavers and painters for the carpet weaving.

From that time the method of weaving and supplying the materials has not changed so much from that time. There are two kinds of knitting, Sahneh and givardas, with these methods they Weave the carpets and use the facilities like hook and comb and scissor that are special for this type of work.

The main materials that are used in this work are silk, wool and cotton although silk carpets have special quality in this group.

The quality of the main materials, the kind of design and elegancy of carpet determines its value.

The most important centers of carpet weavings are Tabriz, Hamedan, Kordestan, Arak, Mashad, Kerman, Nain, Isfahan, Ghom and Kashan.

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In the historical city of Isfahan, there are beautiful and novel designs on domes and minarets of mosques. These are made out of small pieces of coloured ceramics which are accurately stuck on the work surface. This old art in decorative architecture is called “inlaid tile”. The wood inlay, (Moarragh) nowadays well known in world markets, is inspired by the above old art, The art of making wood inlays, in addition to necessary experience and skill in cutting and harmonizing, is a hard and time consuming job. The designs must be cut out from the main panel and then the various pieces of the design made from different materials of various colours should be fixed in the empty places.

In the Iranian noble MOARRAGH, there is absolutely no application of paint and brush. The pieces of the design, apart from being small and delicate, are generally made of 72 types of woods in natural colours plus camel bone, mother of pearl, and natural or synthetic ivory. Metals such as copper, brass, aluminium, silver and gold are also used in some MOARRAGHS.

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The Iranian Ghalamkar is a well known handycraft in the world market. The large demand for this product is a good proof of the fact that art patrons appreciate the Iranian block printing as a pure achievment.

The Iranian Ghalamkar which change hands today are the outcome of nine centuries experiences in the history of decorative textiles in Iran. In the begining, i.e. about 900 years ago, the Iranian artists used to paint the patterns directly on the cotton or silk fabrics and to give stability to the colour, they washed the fabric in special methods. Since the production was limited and cost for these products was so high only a few consumers could afford to buy and use them. Gradually the use of wooden blocks became prevalent and by stamping the patterns the volume of production increased. Moreover by using wooden blocks the artist could use a vast variety of motives in a short time.

One of the main characteristics of the hand made Ghalamkar produced by Iranian artists is the stability and durability of colours.

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The splendid art of engraving is the creation of designs by carving chisels on various kinds of metals. It seems that the history of engraving has not been too far from the time when man discovered and used the metals. The ancient samples kept in “Iran-Bastan” and other museums in the world register the engraving art as 3000 years old.

Like many other handicrafts, the engraving has always kept strong link with the everyday life of Iranian arts. Hence there is a close similarity between the patterns and motives used in engraving and those in the Iranian tiles, calligraphy and paintings. There are times also that the artist engraved ceremonial parties or hunting panoramas and war fields as related in Iranian myth and history.

Engraving procedure and methods:

After completion of the drawing of pattern by the artist, the back side of the work is covered by a layer of tar, baked with some other materials, then the main lines of design is traced by carving chisels and henceforth it takes time, even months, for the artist to give life to the whole design which once was just an imagination to him.

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Khatam means beautiful harmony of triangles of various materials. Frame of a picture, for example, is made in a variety of forms out of small triangles from wood, brass, bone, and even gold, all so to say interlaced together. This exquisite and magnificent art, which has past record for many centuries in Iran, has undergone a special evolution in the past century to reach the peak of its perfection in beauty of designs and colours.

Nowadays coloured woods, metals, bones, ivory and mother of pearl are used in making Khatam. The original triangle is still the basis of the designs which after completion is covered by a special layer for protection against climatic hazards.

Many products are made by Khatam. The most common products include frame of pictures, various boxes, table and chair and special building architectural decorations such as chets, doors, windows and etc.

The intricacy and fineness of the process results in a vast variety of finished Khatam products.

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The products of the Iranian glass handicrafts presently placed at the disposal of consumers are just a reminiscent of ancient artcraft evidence by excavations as old as 2 to 3 thousand years. The glass hand made products are not merely valuable tokens of Iranian art, but they are applicable to the daily use of home owners.

The main groups are:

1. Painted glass products, comprising vessels with fast kiln colours and with designs inspired by nature such as birds and flowers or beautiful arabesque patterns. This group also includes vessels painted with gold or with golden colours.

2. Opaque glass products: These vessels which are reminiscent of ancient glassware, are made by special technics with the use of acids and processes during kiln baking to give them a cracked look. The opaque glassware are also made in different colours.

3. Cut glassware: The glass products are later cut, and the cut parts are either glossed or left to remain opaque. The cut glassware generally comes in various designs.

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Kilim is thought to be a very ancient handy craft, but as they are not so resistant to wear as knotted work, none that are velived to be older than the seventeenth century have survived.

Weaving kilim which is a tribal handicraft is full of delicacy and somehow introduces the culture of these people. The designs are generally inspired by the living environment. Animals, birds, plants and metamorphosis forms are the main themes of the designs. Sometimes fabulous animals or creatures find their way into the textures, perhaps as depicts of old myth related by a grandmother at bed Lime to a grandchild who later grew up to a weaver.

Concerning materials, traditionally wool is the principal material used in kilim, though nowadays the use of cotton as warp or part of the main panel is more to be seen, and there are also special types of kilim completely woven of wool or silk.

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One of the oldest method of decorating the cloths is needle-lace. Though there is not much samples of this art, but this method is obvious from the old cloths of historical arts. This art is appreciated in Safavieh period. The neighbors of Iran are influenced by this art and vice versa. Three kinds of Needle-lace are:

a) The surface of cloth is completely covered with needle-lace.

b) The combination of the sesign and surface with the method of Brocaded silk.

c) Needle-lace which now is specially done in Isfahan - called sokmeh-doozy

Geometrical designs, birds, and peacock tree, with diffeent methods are used to decorate the clothes. Crocheting in Rasht and pateh-doozy in Kerman are the most beautiful samples of needle-lace in Iran

These kinds of needle lace are made in the cities which traditions are yet appreciated.

Nowaday these valuable cloths are used only in celebrations, wedding and religious feasts.

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Advance Search Web Search
The Office of Ayatullah Khamenei

Sadi Foundation


Women`s Information & Statistics Center


News Site of the Institute for Preseving and Publishing Works by Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei

Iranian Cultural Heritage Organization

IRAN Tourism & Touring Organization

IRAN Land of Arts

Qods News Agency
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