Shiraz Khatam or Marquetry

Written by Super User. Posted in Uncategorised

Khatam or Marquetry

By: A.Mahdavi


Khatamkari is one of the Persian marquetry arts in which the surface of the wooden or metal items is decorated with pieces of wood, bone, and metal cut in a variety of shapes and designs.

The materials used in this art can be of gold, silver, brass, aluminum and twisted wire. Several types of embedded articles and their quality are known for size and geometric designs. The smaller pieces result in a higher value of the work of art.

This boat consists of the production of patterns of incrustations (usually in the form of a star), with fine wooden sticks (ebony, teak, ziziphus, orange, pink), brass (for gold parts) and camel bones (white parts) . Ivory, gold or silver can also be used for collection objects. These sticks are assembled into triangular beams, assembled and glued in a strict order to create a geometric pattern such as a six-branched star included in a hexagon.

Sometimes cylinders are cut into shorter cylinders and then compressed and dried between two wood plates, before being cut for the last time, in 1 mm wide sections. These sections are ready to be plated and glued on the object to decorate, before finishing the lacquer.

The stretch can also be smoothed through heating to wrap objects. Many objects can be decorated in this way, including jewelry boxes, chess boards, pipes, desks, frames or musical instruments.

Design and use

Design marquetry is very elaborate. In each cubic centimeter of space, up to approximately 250 pieces of metal, bone, ivory and wood are placed side by side. This art, to a certain extent, has existed in Iran for a long time.

The artifacts embedded in the Safavid era took on special significance, as artists used this art in doors, windows, mirror frames, Koranic boxes, pens and penholder, lanterns and tombs.

The ornamentation of the doors of the sacred places consists mainly of embedded motifs. These specimens can be observed in the cities of Mashhad, Qom, Shiraz and Rey. In the Safavid era, the art of marquetry flourished in the cities of southern Iran, especially in Isfahan, Shiraz and Kerman.

An embossed desk, one of the definitive masterpieces of this art, was awarded the first prize and a gold medal at an art exhibition in Brussels recently. This desk is now preserved in the National Museum of Washington. Also, in some real buildings, doors and various items have been inlaid. The ornate inlaid rooms at Sa 'd Abad and the Marble Palace in Tehran are among the masterpieces of this art.
In the Safavid era, khatamkari was so popular in court that the princes learned this technique along with the art of music or painting. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the khatamkari declined, before being stimulated under the reign of Reza Shah, with the creation of art schools in Tehran, Isfahan and Shiraz.

Incorporating techniques from China and improving with Persian knowledge, this art existed for over 700 years and is still practiced in Shiraz and Isfahan.

Actual state

Currently, this art is being practiced in Isfahan, Shiraz and Tehran. The inlay masters, preserving the nobility of their art, have brought great innovations in this art.

Wood carving is one of the outstanding Iranian arts, requiring skill and artistic skills. Provides wood, ivory or bone in simple or complex forms for use in khatamkari.

Excellent specimens can be found in mosques, palaces and historic buildings. Some of Iran's embedded works are preserved in museums at home or abroad.

Images of leaves, flowers, birds and animals predominate.

Latticework, which was later developed into an exquisite art, is also handmade by artisans. Iran's old gates and lattice windows are famous.

Among other works of art, one can mention the embedded sudorific work. In this type of embedded work, the artist strictly avoids the protuberances on the surface of the wood. Images carved in natural wood of various colors are finely embedded. After the application of a fine finish, a uniform surface is produced. The art of embedded and sudorific craftsmanship is supported by the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourist Organization of Iran. These arts are also practiced in private workshops.

Khatamkari is part of Iran's artistic heritage. Official support can help preserve this heritage for future generations.


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