Wood Carving in Iran
All Iranian handicrafts arise from the soul of the people. Today, more than ever, the value of authentic Iranian art has been shown to everyone, and people have discovered the art and worthiness of these beautiful handmade structures. Woodcarving (Monabat Kari in Persian Languages) is one of the brilliant artworks in Iran that can catch the glance of every art lover in the world.
Monabat Kari on various surfaces created. Kind of material such as wood, stone, bone, metal, etc. The best kind of it is done on wood by human hand, not a machine and other materials. Wood is one of the most abundant materials in human history that has always existed in nature. As a result, the idea of using wood as one of the main carving tools has been for a long time. No person or persons played a role in inventing this art, but ordinary people began to engrave and carve on wood. There are various types of designs, and all are by original Iranian art.
What does Monabat Kari (Woodcarving) mean?
Woodcarving refers to the art of carving and embossing on natural wood by an artistic hand of a carving master. It means using art and creating embossment patterns on a material that is mostly wood. It is a prominent and valuable art, but it also is a branch of industry. Embossment is the most significant element in Monabat Kari. The patterns which carved on wood with special tools that form beautiful embossments.
The root of the word Monabat Kari
Monabat takes from the word Nabat which means planting and growing. As the initial design of this art was flowers, leaves, and plants, the great Iranian art lovers named this art Monabat.
History of Woodcarving (Monabat Kari) in Iran:
It is not possible to estimate the history of Monabat in Iran accurately. But this art seems to date back more than fifteen hundred years. Even if some evidence proves the existence of this art in the Achaemenid era, most historians and experts claim that this art belongs to Sasanian and Pre Islamic eras. It testifies to the artistic penchant of Iranian people in the long past.
What is the oldest Monabat work in Iran?
The wooden door of Jameh Atigh Mosque in Shiraz belongs to 3rd century Hijri and is the most significant well-known Monabat work from 1200 years ago. The base of the door is the wood of Tabriz covered by walnut wood. It is considered an exquisite and valuable artwork.
Who is a Monabat Kar (Woodcarver)?
A Monabat Kar (Woodcarver) is an artist who makes beautiful embossments in natural wood. The artistic taste of the Monabat Kar (Woodcarver) plays a chief role in the final work. So artworks are worth more than other works and are distinctive and specific.
What is the characteristic of a good Monabat Kari?
Every artwork, regardless of its type, must be flawless to be considered exquisite and valuable. In Monabat art, the background must be uniform and smooth, and the patterns must have the same size and similarity. Also, the distance between the designs and their lines should be the same size.
The kind of wood used in Monabat Kari is another factor that is effective in its quality. The higher the durability and density of the wood, the more valuable the artwork will be.
Undoubtedly, the hands of the artist who creates the artwork will also affect the value of the Monabat Kari. An experienced and reputable master can make more precious ones.
The tools used in Wood Carving:
- Cave: It is considered the most necessary tool in woodcarving because of its sharp steel blade. Carving on wood to reach the desired shape is done by a cave. Different sizes and kinds of this tool are available in the market.
- File: Files have different shapes with treads all over them. When a piece of work has an arc or cannot be smooth with other tools is finished by file.
- Hammer: This tool is for hitting the cave and is made of wood and metal, but now it is made of compressed plastic and wood because of less noise, lighter weight, and no damage to the hand.
- Wood: Choosing the best wood as an important material in Iranian Monabat Kari is an essential step in this art. The wood that usually obtains from trees with broad and large leaves must have a fine and firm texture. Here we introduce the woods used in Iranian Monabat Kari that are prevalent in Iranian markets.
- Walnut tree wood:
It is one of the best woods for Monabat Kari art in Iran as it is native to Iran and China and cultivated in most parts of Iran. The wood is heavy and can absorb paint well. The outer wood is brown with light brown, and the inner wood is light to dark brown.
This tree grows in Europe, West Asia, Iran, and Turkey. After walnut, it is the best wood for this art and is very popular in Iran. The outer wood is red, and the inner wood is reddish-brown. Both have parallel and uniform fibers with no odor and are relatively stiff, heavy, and resistant to impact.
- Plane tree’s wood:
In Iran, Tehran in particular, it is one of the most abundant trees. The outer wood is light to reddish-brown. Its old wood resembles beech.
Steps of Wood Carving on Wood:
We have seven main steps in wood carving art:
1) Pattern selection and design
2) Choosing wood
3) Transferring the design to wood
4) Preparing the wood
[If the wood chosen for carving is too hard, the carver may need to soften its surface with oil to make it easier to carve.]
5) Specify the pattern in the background by big caves
6) Carving the design on wood
7) Polishing the artwork
Woodcarving (Monabat Kari) is a valuable and praiseworthy art that can turn a lifeless piece of wood into a precious and exquisite work of art. Today, this art is to create artistic wooden artifacts, even in kitchen decorations and classic-style cabinets. With the increasing spread of communication, more people are familiar with arts and crafts, and the art of woodcarving is entering the interior decoration of homes with greater strength.