Fars province is one of the well-known provinces of Iran. There are only a few people who have heard the name of Iran but have not noticed Fars. It is only fair to have a blog dedicated to Fars Handicrafts.
The Persian language comes from Fars Province, and for a long time, the international name of Iran (Persia) originated from this province and the Pars tribe of the Aryans. The foundation of the first civilization was built in Fars and spread worldwide. Fars has yet been able to support this reputation. From Persepolis to Nasir mosque, Fars handicrafts have visual artistic effects that they are in the list of the most visited places in the world every year, and where other than Fars could give such a variety to the world.
For several times, Fars has been the capital of all Iran; therefore, it fully knows what cultivating art means. While going up and down with the bumps on the road of history, this center never failed to impress. Even when The Moguls attacked, they managed to stand like a strong fort and became a haven for each artist. Being said so, Fars handicrafts took the lead on producing handmade crafts and mastering them. Handicrafts are usually the type of adeptness made by hand or simple tools, and mostly, they are one of a kind.
Each Fars handicrafts could be different, and the artists producing them masters the art. Handicrafts are cultural symbols of a country or a specific geographical region. These crafts were a part of whatever people used in life, not some antic they should put away or use only for design and decoration.
Overall, Fars handicrafts originate from Fars province itself but spread into the whole country. These crafts are known as carpets, Kilims, and Gabbeh. From long ago, Persian Carpet gained a universal reputation. Cities such as Yazd, Tabriz, and Kerman are indeed well-known in the carpet business. However, because of some unique colors and patterns, this handicraft has made a stage in Fars.
The background of carpet weaving in Fars goes back to 12 centuries ago, and there are solid documents that since the fourth century AH, these carpets became popular. Such a background backs up any industry or Fars Handicrafts tale.
They weave these carpets mostly with cotton, wool, and in some cases, silk and are not always to cover the floors. Some used them as a wall hanger as a part of a decorative reason. They also weave Kilims in Fars with a frame and some carpet tools. As a popular member of the Fars Handicrafts family, Kilims of Fars are different from Kilims of other places because they are the results of inspiration. The weavers do not use any pre-design map.
Lur and Turk ethnic groups, as they are the most population of nomadic tribes in Fars, are the masters of Kilim and Gabbeh, and you could find the finest of them in Vakil Bazar, Shiraz. Pottery is art with visible traces in history. Any country with a golden age has once used pottery to tell its story from ancient times. Iran has a famous figure in pottery.
Southern cities of Fars like Lar and Gerash, due to the quality of their land and soil, made handicrafts through pottery and exported them to countries around the Persian Gulf. Many pale and glazed potteries are still Fars Handicrafts. These days, because of the sense of nostalgia, the attraction of these pottery handicrafts has increased.
Maybe one could argue whether stucco is a handicraft or not. Stucco is handmade and goes back to the Achaemenid era. The Sassanid dynasty originated in Fars, mastered the art, and no Persian house went without stucco. The traditional method with bergamot, flower, and plant designs is a relic of the Zandiyeh era. Master craftsmen, especially the younger ones, have made innovations in the field of stucco and have tried to transfer this art from mere decoration to the decoration of things, such as paintings, mirror margins, and sculptures. Stucco is a handicraft in Fars that is gradually taking root.
Fars province plays house to yet another legendary handicraft. Cities such as Meymand, Firoozabad, and even Shiraz have workshops for glassblowing. Fars Handicrafts have solid backgrounds.
From the pre-historical ages, glassblowing has made its way into decoration and jewelry. The glass is an amorphous solid, which heating could shape the glass into many objects. Masters of glassblowing heat and blow, then color it with natural colors. They make glassware, containers, decorative windows, jewelry, etc. Nowadays, glassblowing has a specific section for itself in any handicraft shop.
Fars Handicrafts presents marquetry as well. Marquetry is a noble fine art that has made its way to the contemporary era with traditional patterns on wood. Long before marquetry on wood became so common, the artists would gather around small mosaics and make a picture in the form of large boards. They found these boards in Kazerun in Bishapur from the Sassanid epoch, where they were called the masters of this art. Marquetry as handicraft works on wood now, and it is more popular this way.
Shiraz was the capital city of Fars, and it still is. Therefore, when it comes to handicrafts, it is the origin of one of the finest arts called Khatam, the Persian way of inlaying. Khatam is a regular polygon with many sides, formed using different raw materials in different colors. This art needs high care and attention, which is why it has become one of the arduous and delicate Fars handicrafts. For example, the inlay of the pulpit (Minbar) and the roof of the Jameh mosque of Atigh in Shiraz are the highest models of this art. It needs special equipment, raw materials such as wood, bone, or metal, and tools like hammer saw drills and other types of razors. Khatam is a professional art used to decorate holy shrines, and wealthy benefactors paid the masters to do their best for these places. Later on, the margin of the mirrors, windows, the base of vases, decorative and jewelry boxes, and chess boards were also products of khatam inlaying.
Fars handicrafts dose owe it all to the school of Shiraz. Miniature and its special techniques in Shiraz can be a worthy handicraft and a fine gift to give someone you respect. Painting a rose flower with a bird called nightingale (Gul-o-Bulbul) is a style of painting, and is a handicraft, originated from Shiraz.
Metalworking could also be one of Fars handicrafts. This branch of delicate production has two sub-branches like toreutics and silversmith. Toreutics is the fine art of making patterns and shapes on a metal which is usually copper. It could be nearly anything, a vase, a dish, the margin of mirrors, and even pens. Silversmith is close to making jewelry, and from how people have welcomed it, silversmith became widely available. And most of the handicrafts are crafts made out or produced from silver or somehow have silver.
One of the oldest, most delicate, and beautiful pieces of art in Iran is tiling. This way of decoration has carried on most aspects of Iran’s architecture. There are two main techniques in tilling. One is marquetry tiling, and the other is seven color tiles. In the latter, first, the master and designer draw the pattern with several colors (red, pink, blue, turquoise, yellow, black, and purple) on the tile, and then after firing it in a kiln, they make their masterpiece ready to be used on buildings. Shiraz has made a name for itself in this type of tiling. The most famous scenery decorated and designed by these seven color tiling is Nasir mosque. Seven color tile workshops in Shiraz are ready to sell tiles in frames and boards. This colorful craft is a fair gift to give to someone special or to keep as a reminder of your trip to Shiraz.
Iran’s decorative art in architecture, like any other country, has many categories. One originated from Iran existed during the Sassanid dynasty. Aina-Kari or Mirroring is a glamorous art and later turned into a glamorous handicraft. Shiraz always had an air about it that made the city loveable. Many kings of different dynasties, whether Shiraz was their capital or not, gave the city special attention. That is the main reason for so many styles in decorative art that exist in Shiraz. Qavam House and the mansion of Zinat-ol-Molk are examples of Aina-Kari, and many Persian traditional houses have a room with this decoration and Fars handicrafts.
Mirrors in Persian culture are symbols of brightness, joy, and positive energy. Producing different shapes of mirrors and combining mirroring with other handicrafts like silversmith or metalworking has made this category of Shiraz handicrafts welcomed with open arms.
Other cities in Fars province have their specialty. Like handicrafts of the ethnic groups, you could find them in Shiraz too. But knowing where they originally come from gives credit to these handicrafts. In Fars province, specially Abadeh, wood carving goes way back, and some of the most beautiful pieces of works are in this city in the forms of boxes, chess boards, furniture, tables, etc.
Wood carving means carving patterns of flowers and plants on wood so that they may seem alive. Nowadays, the patterns and shapes are not limited to just plants and green life, but usually, nature is the first source of inspiration. This delicate art goes back to 1500 years ago, and pieces of it were found as archeology pieces of evidence in Fars Handicrafts. With owning most of the wood carving workshops and wood carving professional masters are from Abadeh. As perfecting Fars handicrafts, this city has become the world’s capital of wood carving.
There is a sort of footwear, also made in Abadeh, known as Giweh (some shoes like espadrille). Giweh is handmade, and the exclusive technique used in Abadeh for this type of shoe is called Maleki. These shoes are of carpet yarn or silk, cloth, and a piece of leather. Handcrafters from Abadeh create protrusions on the bottom of the leather part so that its surface would not be slippery. Today, with projects such as the Persian Traditional clothing, wearing Giweh has increased, and the Malekis from Abadeh are out of their obsolescence.
One of Fars handicrafts, ancient and yet nearly forgotten, is bulrush mat making. This type of handicraft is specific to towns like Zarghan. Bulrush mat making is some sort of mat made out of bulrushes that grew quite fairly near riversides. We could easily say it is even older than weaving. Handcrafters cut the bulrushes with a sickle, then pour water on them and pluck them to use them as textures. In some places, people use bulrush as thatches.
Mats made out like this were so popular, and giving it the time it needed to become an art, the way of weaving it turned into a specific technique. It made the object not only antiquity but a very delicate handicraft. Kazerun nomads, who live almost in the west of Shiraz, are also good artists in the bulrush weaving and making wicker baskets. Bulrush weaving in Kazerun is with swamp straw or palm tree fiber, and apart from women, men also have a skill in this art.
Estahban of Fars province, a city 175 km away from Shiraz, has succeeded in producing various types of pottery ceramics. This art was registered as an intangible heritage of Iran. The market for pottery ceramics has boomed since the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization supported the art. The technique used to make these special ceramic containers or decorations is from Estahban and has been distinguished throughout the country. At one time, these handicrafts were unknown, but today they are popular in handicrafts, especially when they are of high quality.
Fars Handicrafts are usually everywhere, apart from the concept of souvenirs; they are the particles of a country’s culture. As a guiding line, before any trip, we should have the necessary information about our destination. This information also includes handicrafts. In this article, we have tried to introduce you to the most prestigious handicrafts in Fars province and the most artistic ones, although the discussion does not end here. In general, paying attention to the handicrafts of each city, especially Fars province, with its background, enriches the journey ahead.