Persian Art

Applied and Decorative:

Calligraphy, the sacred art; in Iranian culture, from ancient times, dating back to the earliest days of the historic era,  to the Islamic period, writing has always been considered of divine origin. In The holly Koran, writing is deeply revered. In the ancient tradition of calligraphy, only through more than 20 years’ practice could a talented scribe gain the acceptance of experts and the authorization to sign his work. 
Persian, unlike Western languages, is written from right to left.
Normally it is written in straight, equally spaced lines, but in calligraphy, according to the taste of the artist, the lines on a page may be horizontal, diagonal, wavy or on a rising curve, and occasionally there are two or more different types of line spacing. In the calligraphy by Mir-Emad (d.1615) the technical principals and minutiae of rhythm, weight, composition and size have reached a state of considerable beauty. In calligraphy written by Mirza Gholam-Reza Isfahani in 1878, the text is only a means of giving shape to the calligrapher’s feeling, and its meaning is conveyed by the entire composition rather than simply the constituent words.


n describing Iranian painting within the realm of Islamic culture, what usually comes to mind is the small manuscript painting known as “miniatures”. Indeed this was the main sphere of the Iranian painter’s activity between the 14th. and 16th. centuries. In miniatures the painter chooses a story from literature and depicts it without ambiguity or complication. Usually gold, silver, lapis lazuli and chromatic grey are used for the large flat areas, and for small figurative elements, intense and brilliant hues such as red, yellow, and green. The medium is opaque watercolour. The manuscript illustrator always tries to make a logical connection between text and painting. The composition of some miniatures is based on fixed geometrical ratios. 
In 17th. century, the acquaintance of Western arts, affected Iranian paintings. 
Lacquerwork; the most interesting of the functional, decorative types of Iranian paintings, Lacquerwork, goes back to the centuries of Islam as an independent art form. It has become a popular art in which the Persian gift for visual beauty has a vast and diverse field of expression. While maintaining its miniaturistic quality of Iranian painting, it has expanded to cover everyday objects such as boxes, cases for different objects, frames, bookstands, and so on.

Carpet making- pile Rugs (knotted-pile rug weavings)

carpet making constitutes one of the most just and mot potent expression of the Iranian culture. The two oldest Iranian arts, painted pottery and rug weaving, are prominent throughout the nation’s long history. Persian rugs, remarkably free from shifts in decorative preferences and foreign influences, has remained true to its traditional artistic autonomy.
The number of knots per square meters or “gereh” is a big value factor for Persian carpets. Typically carpets run in these knots per m2: 10.000, 40.000, 90.000, 160.000 and 250.000. The more knots/m2, the finer the carpet is.

Carpet making – Flat weaves (gelim, zilu, jajim):

Gelim is a coarse woven woolen floor covers. They were preferred usually by tribes on the move, because of their light weigh and the fact that they do not occupy much space. They can also be used for wrapping goods or covering households. zilu is made from cotton, with a color palette of only blue and white, idle for hot climates of the regions around the desert. Jajim has a wrap-faced weave. In jajim the wraps are more active in patterning, and are exposed, while the wefts are hidden (in gelim and zilu it is the other way round).

Architectural Ornament:

Brick work: The art of bonding bricks to produce effects of light and shade, with interlaced geometric designs of flush- laid basket work patterns reached impressive heights during early 12th century. The magnificent Toghrol Tower at Ray, built and ornamented in brickwork was completed in 1139, and also the Chehel Dokhtaran Minaret in Isfahan (1107) and many many brick towers, minarets all over Iran testify the immense creativity of Persian brick work.

Tile work:

With the advent of Islam, Iranian artists, responding to the evolution of Irano-Islamic architecture and the widespread use of tiles in Islamic monuments, gave their creativity free rein to produce perhaps the most beautiful architectural ornaments ever devised, and this is why kashi-kari (tile work) in Iran reached a degree of sophistication unsurpassed anywhere in the world. 
The earliest known and recorded monument with monochrome tile decoration is the minaret of Friday mosque in Damghan (1058). 
The large number of surviving signed and dated luster tiles, combined with other historical evidence indicate that most of the important tile work of the 11th. and 12th. centuries can be ascribed to three generations of the family of Abi Taher Kashani.


the art of decorating the interior surface of buildings with sculpted stucco opened a new chapter in the history of architecture decoration in the Islamic era, and altered the relation between construction and decoration. An example of Coloured stucco may be seen in Ali Qapu Palace in Isfahan.

Mirror Mosaic

the art of creating designs, mostly geometrical, from pieces of mirror set in stucco or wood, creating a sparkling interior space with multiple reflections dates from 1544 in the palace of Shah Tahmasb in the city of Qazvin. However, it was in Isfahan, the third capital of Safavids, that mirror works became an indispensable interior decoration for palaces, and later in mansions and shrines.


There is an epigraph, dated 1672, at the mausoleum of Khajeh Rabi in Mashhad, which states that a wealthy lady named Omm Kolsum paid for the construction of a pool “full of refreshing water,…” This, among many others in the world of Islam, exemplifies the function of a large body of Islamic architectural inscriptions which record a lasting public message.

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