Persian Pottery and Ceramics

What is Pottery?

There can be found no artificially made a substance like pottery that is the product of man’s thought and cheap with its raw material so abundantly accessible in nature. After the period of food collecting, when humans produced food, the need to restore foodstuff led to make storage vessels like jars by clay.

Persian pottery as a craft has a very long history, which goes back to the 7th millennium BC. Throughout the centuries, since the early Neolithic Age, functional pottery ware has been created in various forms all around the world, made and designed by many cultures.

One of the oldest is Persian pottery, produced by the artists of Persia (Iran). Persian potters developed their work to perfection, they responded to cultural changes and adopted many new designs as part of their style.

 

persian pottery
laljin is the capital of world pottery

What is its Application?

Home Decor

  • Cups
  • Mugs
  • Pitcher
  • Plates
  • Tea Pot
  • Pen holder
  • Flower Vase
  • Buzzer for Children
  • Candy Dish
  • Nuts Dish
  • Sweet Dish

Persian Pottery Candy Dish
Persian Pottery Candy Dish

Ancient Forms of Iranian Potteries

As a whole, some of the old forms are as follow:

Legged vessels : They can be called fruit vessels or cookie vessels. They looked like large bowls at the top of upside-down horn-like legs.

Legged containers : they can be used to hold foodstuff or drink. Their forms looked like legged vessels. They were bowls or plates at the top of one or three legs. The legs were sometimes formed like the hoofed legs of animals.

Three-legged vessels : They look like previous forms. There are pans, bowls, plates, etc. fixed at the top of legs in the form of human or animals’ legs.

Stylized teapot-like vessels : They are in the form of teapot with spout beautifully stylized. Some of them have a small handle to take the vessel by one finger. In some cases, the spout looked like birds’ bills.

Knob-legged pitchers : They are ceremonial vessels carefully and beautifully made and decorated as relatively high deep liquid containers with knob-like feet at the bottoms.

Portable jugs : They have been made in precise forms. Most of them have two rings fixed on them: one at the lip and the other down the previous one on the more substantial curved-out part.

Angle-shaped jugs : They were made in thin bodies, slim shapes, and precisely polished surfaces. These jugs could be categorized as ritual vessels, pitchers given as presents to the dead, jugs used for drinking by women so that they could give birth into children (because of a nipple like jutted-out spot on them), etc.

Spherical jugs : They are short-necked, small-handled and spherical shaped jugs. Some other ones are more oval or parabolic. Skinny layers of clay made these jugs. Some are 3mm thick.

Children’s milk jugs : These clay-made pacifier-like spouted jugs were made in spherical or parabolic forms with handles. Sometimes, handles and little pipes going to the inner bottom of the containers were made as one piece. Also, they were presented as gifts to dead children.

Ibex-shaped bowls : They are ceremonial and ritual vessels in unusual shapes. The head of an ibex or a similar animal was served as a decorative handle of such containers. Such vessels were used to contain specific liquid in specific occasions for blessing, healing, magic, narcotizing, etc. and other purposes.

Measuring vessels : Some of these vessels have small handles, and some have small resting feet. They are found abundantly in various historical mounds for measuring function.

Cooking pots : These pots were spherical or parabolic in forms often with a pair of symmetrical handles on both sides of necks. They have lids and are made in such a way that they could be heated.

Top-handled teapot-like vessels : They are some of the most ancient forms made commonly in Iran. They are used as liquid containers. With the help of their spouts, the liquid could be easily poured into other vessels.

Collyrium holders : There are numerous variations of these potteries. There were usually made like three jutted-out leg-shaped sections at the bottom of them. There are tiny holes at their tops extended down to the inner depths of vessels. A wooden stick was used to take collyrium out of the vessel to be used as makeup. Most of them have been found at women’s graves.

Bowls : They usually have short legs (if any) and thick necks. Most of them have got small handles near their topsides.

Jars : They are large spacious clay-made vessels for storing foodstuff or liquid. They are usually high and without handles.

Cups : They usually have short legs (if any) and are beautifully decorated. The clay used to make them is excellent, hard and generally shinning. They are not that much different from what we today drink tea or coffee in.

Mugs : They are ordinary liquid containers used for drinking that are very much similar to the cups we use ordinarily for drinking tea, water, etc. nowadays.

Large pots : In everyday use, they were pots used for putting smaller clay-made vessels in something like a box or case.

The Early Patterns on Iranian Potteries

The early patterns depicted on potteries were simple angular ones. Later, animals and plants were painted on ceramics in stylized ways. Potteries, in general, were made in the buff, red and gray colors. The patterns on them were quite often in red or black.

Pottery and ceramics are also not specific to Iran, but Persian culture and history of art have specialized this art in Iran. Most Iranian cities have shops that sell pottery and ceramics. The center of this art in Iran is the city of Lalejin in Hamedan, which is known as the center of pottery in the Middle East. So if you want to buy small and cheap pieces of Iranian souvenirs and you care about its Persian look, pottery and ceramics are good choices.

lalejin pottery

Lalejin is a pottery town near the city of Hamedan. In 2016 it was named a World City of Craft for Pottery. Its products are popular throughout Iran. Lalejin produces blue tableware and an ornamental “outstanding” glaze (la ab barjeste).  The town contains an entire ceramic eco-system, from clay processing to product showrooms.

Pottery Flower vase
Pottery Flower vase

Persian Tiles

The creation of Persian tiles began about 1200 A.D. After conquering Timur, the people of Persia learned from Chinese pottery that many colors could be added to one pipe. By 1500 A.D., the colors of Chinese pottery became an integral part of Persian tilemaking and unique to the region. Persian tile decorating reached its zenith in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Tiles are used in two different ways for art. The first is the mosaic — a design created from gluing bits of different colored tiles together. The second, in Persian, is called Ghlami — a technique where several colors are painted onto one pipe with a brush. In this exciting, cultural lesson, students learn to create Persian Ghlami tiles using underglazes and a majolica technique.

Where to buy Persian Pottery?

Armita  Handicrafts supply you with an attractive type of pottery works.

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