Turquoise pillars, stalactite tilework, Persian art kept in clay

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News ID: 1050
Iran » Iran
Publish Date: 14:20 - 11 May 2013
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Tehran, YJC. Tilework has grown in the Persian architecture from a simple arrangement of blocks of clay to swerving, dangling, and over-arching structures that seem not to stand only to be looked at.

By: Mehdi Sepahvand
The vast Iranian plateau may be grudging in water, but it has prodigally provided the Persian with clay. Clay has always been of great intimacy to the Persian. From small earthen instruments found in archeological explorations to huge Safavi official, religious, and military buildings, the Persian has maintained not a sort of needy relationship to soil, but a sense of indebtedness come with gratitude and appreciation to this essential, permanent companion in the form of the bestowal of what he could find not already in it, but rather inside his own being. The Iranian's craft with clay is the art of putting into soil what utmost beauty he could create from within himself, to work it into upright signs of what to do best with what one gets. It seems to go as a whisper in the soil’s ear, saying "You will be put to good use by me.”

Imam Mosque, Isfahan

The peak of Persian craft with clay comes in the form of decorations in buildings during the Safavi era. The artwork preserves no only the building from natural phenomena, but also from human effects, by the sense of preciousness, or sometimes sacredness that it gives to it, as though to imply to the onlooker that he is traveling in a holy land which aught to be treated specially. This has preserved us a wealth of architecture from past centuries to take awe at and to aspire to.

But the craft also holds within itself what could be truly called the heart of cultural heritage, or cultural heritage itself. The Persian tilework is a catalogue of beliefs, dreams, aspirations, untold words, and whatever that could not be expressed in a way other than what it does with its colors, stretches of straight lines, playful curvatures, tangential starts and endings, upsurges that lead to lancet arches,  depressed arches hiding princely memories and royal whispers, side streaks, stalactite suspensions of meaning and desire, spaces that could be filled only with superhuman words or out-and-out azure of the otherwise unseizable heaven.

Usually the side-skirts run in earthly yellow marble. The walls then elevate in heavenly azure , only to meet at a physical infinitude, as though establishing their presence there as an invitation to look toward higher places, places which resemble not the world out there as much as they depict the intricacies within the space of the human psyche, where one voice would echo into a myriad and pour down on passersby as summons to the elevation one could work into the soil he tramples. The Persian clay-work is a true incarnation of the human soul in solid soil.

 

Eram Garden, Shiraz

Naqsh-e Jahan Sq., Isfahan

Siosepol, Isfahan



Siosepol, Isfahan

Chehelsotoun, Isfahan



Imam Mosque, Isfahan

Imam Mosque, Isfahan

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