Iran: An­cient Mid­dle Eastern Civil­i­sa­tion

Beijing (English) - - CONTENTS -

Iran is of­fi­cially known as the Is­lamic Repub­lic of Iran. It is a coun­try with thou­sands of years of his­tory that is rich in nat­u­ral ge­og­ra­phy and an­cient cul­tural her­itage. Iran is lo­cated in the Mid­dle East and com­prises a land area of 1,648,195, mak­ing it the 18th largest coun­try in the world. With 10 per­cent of the world's oil re­sources, it is the world's fourth largest oil pro­ducer and OPEC'S sec­ond largest oil ex­porter. Oil is Iran's eco­nomic life­line, with rev­enues ac­count­ing for over half of the coun­try's to­tal for­eign-ex­change in­come.

Iran is a shin­ing pearl in terms of his­tory and cul­ture. For­merly known as Per­sia, Iran was once an im­por­tant coun­try on the Silk Road. Tehran, its cap­i­tal, be­came a stop­ping point along the an­cient route as early as the ninth cen­tury. The in­dus­tri­ous and coura­geous Per­sians made great achieve­ments in the fields of medicine, as­tron­omy, math­e­mat­ics, agri­cul­ture, ar­chi­tec­ture, mu­sic, phi­los­o­phy, his­tory, lit­er­a­ture and art, which led to Per­sian civil­i­sa­tion spread­ing across the globe and even chang­ing the course of world his­tory.

Per­sia fea­tured a mul­ti­cul­tural mix­ture of dif­fer­ent arts and crafts. In mod­ern times, there is a rep­re­sen­ta­tive hand­i­craft of each Ira­nian city. The Ira­nian booth at the third “Colour­ful World—cul­tural Ex­hi­bi­tion of Coun­tries along the Belt and Road” show­cased tra­di­tional hand­i­crafts from the coun­try that are filled with rich Ira­nian wis­dom and cul­ture.

“This is a mar­quetry jew­ellery box from Iran. The metal parts are brass, the black parts are wood and the white parts are camel bone,” ex­plained ex­hibitor Ma­jid Shamaeizad­eh. Ira­nian mar­quetry has been around for thou­sands of years. Ma­te­ri­als such as those used on the box Shamaeizad­eh men­tioned are cut into thin strips and com­bined to cre­ate tri­an­gu­lar pat­terns, with more pieces added to cre­ate a highly dec­o­ra­tive ef­fect. This art is widely used for dec­o­rat­ing jew­ellery boxes, or­na­men­tal cases, chess­boards, pic­ture frames, mu­si­cal in­stru­ments and lamps.

Shamaeizad­eh ex­plained some in­for­ma­tion about an­other box: “This is a painted, Per­sian enamel in­cense box dec­o­rated with a scene of our coun­try's tra­di­tional sport—polo.” Painted Per­sian enam­el­work has been around for over 2,500 years. It is one of the most im­por­tant Ira­nian hand­i­crafts. All of the images on a box are painted by hand. Ev­ery­thing is then fired at a tem­per­a­ture of over 700 de­grees Cel­sius. The stylish and unique enam­el­ware is mostly used for items such as din­ner sets, vases and frames.

“Take a look at this beau­ti­ful en­graved sugar jar.” Shamaeizad­eh then ex­plained that en­grav­ing is the art of care­fully carv­ing pat­terns or re­liefs onto var­i­ous met­als such as gold, sil­ver and cop­per. Ira­nian en­grav­ing has also had a pro­found in­flu­ence on the for­ma­tion and devel­op­ment of Chi­nese en­grav­ings.

Iran also boasts other met­al­crafts such as sil­ver­work and fil­i­gree. Even in to­day's age of large-scale in­dus­trial pro­duc­tion, Iran's crafts still re­tain their orig­i­nal charm and pro­duc­tion process. This is their most im­por­tant fea­ture. Ira­ni­ans are still able to metic­u­lously carve tin plates and make images from cop­per. This kind of crafts­man­ship is rare in to­day's fast-paced world.

Ex­quis­ite turquoise jew­ellery was also on dis­play at Iran's booth at the ex­hi­bi­tion. An­cient peo­ple re­garded turquoise stones as sa­cred trea­sures, and they are still the most pop­u­lar blue gem­stone to­day. Iran is fa­mous around the world for pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity blue turquoise. Ex­quis­ite turquoise jew­ellery is highly sought af­ter in Iran.

Shamaeizad­eh was ex­tremely pleased with the ex­hibits on dis­play in the Ira­nian booth. He ex­plained: “The Cul­tural and Creative Expo is one of the best places to ex­hibit Ira­nian cul­ture and its long his­tory. Lots of peo­ple who un­der­stand cul­ture gather here.”

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