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Ghalamzani - Persian art of engraving on metal

Ghalamzani - Persian art of engraving on metal

Ghalamzani or engraving on metal is one of the top Iranian handicrafts which is still practiced in cities like Isfahan and is a great souvenir of Iran.

December 28, 2020

Apart from the historical monuments and mind-blowing natural landscapes, what will catch your attention while you are in Iran is the big variety of Iranian handicrafts. From pottery to Minakari, and Ghalamkar, in different cities you’ll get acquainted with a new type of handicraft with roots in ancient Persian culture. Among all Persian handicrafts produced with various materials, Ghalamzani, which is the art of engraving and carving delicate designs on metals such as, silver, copper, brass, and gold, is one of the most beautiful handicrafts and is created by great artists who are masters of metalwork.

Ghalamzani jar - Persian handicraft - Iran

Ghalamzani jar - Persian handicraft - Iran


History of Ghalamzani

The antiquity of creating metal crafts as a tool for daily life by the people who lived in the Iranian plateau traces back to more than a thousand-year before Christ. One of the most significant examples of metalwork from this era is the Golden Bowl of Hasanlu with ornaments showing gods riding chariots. The zenith of engraving in ancient Iran was during the Sassanid Era when eye-catching pieces of Ghalamzani were created. You can visit samples of metalwork and Ghalamzani created by the people of ancient civilizations of Iran in the National Museum of Iran named the Iran Bastan Museum in Tehran.

Since painting and sculpturing got forbidden after the entrance of Islam to Iran, producing handicrafts like Ghalamzani and pottery was progressed, especially during the Seljuk era when delicate pieces of golden and silver Ghalamzani were created. Just like other Iranian arts, the best samples of Ghalamzani were created during the Safavid Dynasty in Isfahan. Today, Isfahan is still the center of Ghalamzani in Iran and you can find the best pieces in the historical bazaar of this city.





The golden bowl of Hasanlu - Ancient Iran

Making a piece of Ghalamzani artwork

For engraving on a piece of a metal vase, plate, etc., first, they draw ornamental patterns on the item. This design usually includes flowers, trees, animals like birds and horses, and arabesque patterns. Then inside or back of the object is filled with tar to increase the ductility of the metal object and reduce the sound of a hammer on copper. The patterns appear on the metal surface little by little, as the artist hammers the item continuously, and then the tar is removed from the metal object.

Ghalamzani jar - Persian handicraft - Iran

Ghalamzani jar - Persian handicraft - Iran

Ghalamzani- Persian handicraft - Iran Ghalamzani- Persian handicraft - Iran

Where to buy Ghalamzani

Known as the city of handicrafts, Isfahan is the center of creating Ghalamzani and the historical grand bazaar of Isfahan is where you can find best Ghalamzani pieces with different size, shapes, and prices. Shiraz and Tabriz are also important centers of producing Ghalamzani.

Ghalamzani - Persian handicraft - iran

Ghalamzani - Persian handicraft - Iran







































































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