History of wood carving in Iran

History of wood carving in the world

Thousands of years ago, ordinary people used wood as a cheap and available raw material, so there is no accurate estimate of the history of wood carving in Iran and the world. On the other hand, the durability of wood against natural factors is not very high and due to heat, moisture, and other natural factors, it is subject to change and erosion, so there is no trace of old wood carving works. The oldest known inlay is a wooden statue discovered in Egypt dating to 2,500 BC. Of course, the 11,000-year-old Shigir idol wooden statue can be considered the oldest wood carving work.

History of wood carving in Iran

History of wood carving in Iran in the different periods

The art of wood carving in Iran has a long history and dates back to the arrival of the Arabs about 1,500 years ago.
The oldest inlaid work in Iran is a wooden door belonging to the Old Mosque of Shiraz.
This door, which belongs to the third century AH, is about 1,200 years old.
The culmination of Iranian inlaid art was during the Safavid period and declined in the late Zandi and early Qajar periods.

Today, the profession of wood carving, like other Iranian handicrafts, is well-established in all parts of the country and is especially flourishing in cities such as Golpayegan and Abadeh.
Among the cities of Iran, Isfahan’s carvings are known to the world more than other regions of the country due to the movement of foreign tourists and buildings left over from the past.
The wooden roof of the Hasht Behesht Mansion is one of the examples of Isfahan’s wood carving that has attracted the attention of many foreign visitors.

Since the rise of the Seljuks, the use of wood has gradually changed shape, and wood carving has become commonplace.
Unfortunately, there are not many examples of the wood industry in this period.
But two pieces from the construction of the 12th century, about the end of the Seljuk period, are kept in the museum, which shows.
Decorating wood carving with flowers and embossed plants is common today.

The works of the wood carving industry are relatively more in the period of Genghis and Timur, and there are many Iranian motifs and Chinese designs. Also named the shrine of Hazrat Abdul Azim in the city of Rey.

The Timurid period

During the Timurid era, the Mongol wood carving continued.
One of the best examples of this period is the two doors of the second half of the 15th century (9th century AH), which are kept in the Metropolitan Museum.
These two-door leaflets are divided into square pieces, and inside each of them, there are other divisions, and its decorations are geometric patterns and delicate leaves, which were usually used by the goldsmiths of the Timurid period.

wood carving in The Timurid period

Zandieh and Qajar periods

During the Zandi and Qajar periods, wood carving declined, and the construction of inlaid doors and large pieces gave way to smaller pieces such as the recitation of the Qur’an and the mirror frame.

In general, there are no credible artifacts from the past, and the reason for this can be the short life of wood that gradually disappears, as well as the lack of proper maintenance of wooden items due to lack of materials and protective equipment such as varnishes and paints used today.

However, there are relatively old traces of wood carving in our country. Which are mostly done on the doors of tombs, mosques, and the reason for their survival is due to the religious respect of people for these places. Some of which are up to 1000 years old. Currently, wood carving is common in all parts of Iran. It can be said that in the cities of Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Abadeh, Shahroud, etc., relatively more wood carving is done.

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