By Afshin Majlesi

Handicrafts, nomadic cuisine warmly welcomed at Tehran exhibit

February 19, 2017

TEHRAN – The 27th National Crafts Exhibition has been warmly welcomed in Tehran as the event is expected to strengthen cultural bonds between nomadic traditions and modern urban life.

Organized by the Cultural Heritage, Tourism Handicrafts Organization the 4-day exhibit wraps up today at the Tehran Permanent International Fairground.

It has put on show woodwork, illuminated manuscript, miniature, textile printing, enamel, leatherwork, handwoven products, calligraphy, traditional musical instruments, metalwork, and marquetry, amongst a lavish patchwork of other skills.

Visitors have the chance to taste variety of traditional and regional snacks and dishes which are usually embellished with fragrant herbs while principally accentuate on freshness, deliciousness, and colorfulness.

Over the past couple of years, dozens of Iranian handicrafts have been honored with the UNESCO Seal of Excellence. In 2010, a total of 65 crafts on various themes including enamel, tile, metalwork, leatherwork, wood carving received the privilege.

CHTHO evaluates event as successful

In an interview with the Tehran Times, CHTHO Deputy Director Bahman Namvar-Motlaq, who was walking around the stalls inspecting the exhibit, said “This is the first time we throw such a national exhibit in this time of the year, prior to the New Iranian Year [March 21].”

“We used to hold Tehran handicrafts exhibits on June 10th which marks the World Handicraft Day,” he added.

He evaluated the event as successful while saying that the outcomes yield compelling reasons that the organization plan the same exhibit in 2018 on a far larger scale.

Exports on rise

In another interview with Pouya Mahmoudian, the director of the CHTHO exports department, she said that Iranian-made crafts are exported to the European Union, the Persian Gulf countries, and the BRICS states  (association of five major emerging national economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

She referred to the situation of handicrafts exports following the  landmark nuclear deal Iran and six major world powers reached in July 2015, explaining: “The value of Iranian handicrafts exports, [excluding carpets] has witnessed a 36-percent hike in Iranian calendar year 1393 (March 2014-March 2015) compared to 1392, and statistics indicate a 13-percent rise in 1394.”

The CHTHO has already announced that highly sought-after handicrafts such as traditional glassware, potteries, ceramics, and kilims (flat tapestry-woven carpets) constitute the lion’s share of exports.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, and Germany are the main importers of Iranian handicrafts.

Small talks with foreign visitors

While browsing wooden sculptures of fallow deer, Jun Shi, a Chinese visitor from Beijing, commented on the event, saying “It’s very nice though I arrived five minutes ago …. You see, I heard about it from some friends that there is an exhibition so we came here with my wife and child ….. the quality is also very good and I like it …”

A young Lithuanian man named Gie Girous described his purchasing of a handcrafted chess and a backgammon board as a “bargain”.

Another Chinese visitor named Hou Jie from Haining, Zhejiang Province, said “I think this exhibition is very good. So many people come here to see these products…. And Iran traditional products are very beautiful.”

Current drawbacks

The Tehran Times also sought to know about some drawbacks that Iranian handicrafts might have from exhibitors’ points of view. 

Seyyed Ali Pouya, whose Yazd-based company under the brand Miras exports particular Persian rugs to Germany, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, China and Malaysia, linked the disadvantages to a lack of proper presentation and packaging for the products.

“We don’t have any major problem in terms of production and quality of the crafts but we need to modify our approach towards the way we package and present them.” 

PHOTO: A combination photo depicts people visiting the 27th National Crafts Exhibition at the Tehran Permanent International Fairground on February, 17 2017.

AFM/MG

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