Forgotten wood figurines to reappear in Urmia 

March 3, 2021 - 17:42

TEHRAN – The local skill of making hand-carved wood figurines, which is currently obsolete in the city of Urmia, northwestern West Azarbaijan province, is planned to be revived in near future. 

As one of the indigenous and original arts practiced for generations in the region, the forgotten craft is scheduled to be brought back to life in near future, the deputy provincial tourism chief has said. 

Although the city is famous for its wooden crafts, this field has been fallen into oblivion over the years, Afsaneh Ranjbar announced on Wednesday. 

However, holding workshops and training courses as well as handicrafts exhibitions and markets to promote woodcarving products are on the agenda of the province’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department, she added. 

The provincial capital of Urmia, also spelled Orumiyeh, lies just west of Lake Urmia on a large fertile plain that yields grains, fruits, tobacco, and other crops. The population is mainly Azeri Turkish, with Kurdish, Assyrian Christian, and Armenian minorities. The remains of ancient settlements are scattered over the plain, as are traces of the ancient kingdom of Urartu.

With 14 entries, Iran ranks first globally for the number of cities and villages registered by the World Crafts Council, as China with seven entries, Chile with four, and India with three ones come next.

In January 2020, the cities of Shiraz, Malayer, and Zanjan and the village of Qassemabad were designated by the WCC- Asia Pacific Region, putting Iran’s number of world crafts cities and villages from ten to 14.

Shiraz was named a “world city of [diverse] handicrafts”. Malayer was made a global hub for woodcarving and carved-wood furniture. Zanjan gained the title of a “world city of filigree”. And Qassemabad village, which is nationally known for its traditional costumes, was also promoted to a world hub of handicrafts. Chador Shab, a kind of homemade outer-garment for women, was, however, the main subject for the WCC assessment for the village.

Iran exported $523 million worth of handicrafts during the past calendar year 1398 (ended March 19, 2020). Of the figure, some $273 million worth of handicrafts were exported officially through customs, and about $250 million was earned via suitcase trade (allowed for customs-free and tax-free transfer) through various provinces, according to data provided by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.

Ceramics, pottery vessels, handwoven cloths as well as personal ornamentations with precious and semi-precious gemstones are traditionally exported to Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, the U.S., the UK, and other countries.



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