Gereh-chini works on show at tourism ministry

June 22, 2022 - 20:30

TEHRAN – A collection of handmade Gereh-chini works has been put on show during a solo exhibition at the headquarters of the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts in Tehran.

A total of 21 artworks by the Iranian crafter Abbas Yazdipur have been selected for the exhibit, which will come to an end on Thursday, CHTN reported on Tuesday.

The works include mirrors, photos and window frames, the report added.

The art of "Gereh-chini", literally meaning to arrange the knots, is one of the traditional decorative and useful handicrafts of Iran. It relies on the art of laying finely cut pieces of wood on a surface according to a design.

Gereh is composed of geometric knots that are repeated beautifully and rhythmically. Isfahan is its birthplace, and the Seljuk dynasty is known to be the first time Gereh-chini was used. However, the exact date of the craft's origin cannot be determined. The art flourished during the Safavid era.

In Gereh-chini, wood pieces are used in their natural color and no paint is applied to them. Gereh is made best from plane trees, according to masters of the art.

Wood from other trees such as walnut, beech, morus, almond, silverberry, zelkova, pear, and jujube is also used to make shrine doors, pulpits, doors, frames, and decorative dividing panels, etc.

Tond, Kond, Shol, Kond o Shol, Pili, and Doroodgari are the seven types of knots or Gereh, and each of these has its own background and design. Three main categories can be distinguished among Gereh Chini: 1. All wood 2. Moshabbak (lattice trelliswork) and 3. Orosi or Sash window.

Orosi is a type of window made by Gereh and colored glass. They are beautiful and were most frequently used during the Zand and Qajar dynasties. In terms of artistic value, Orosi is very significant.

In Gereh-chini, a Gereh or knot is, in fact, a combination of pieces of wood that are locked together in order to create delicate designs. The finer the pieces of wood, the more valuable the product.

Gereh-chini pieces are made to endure in different climates of Iran with tongue and groove joints. Because of this, Gereh-chini artworks can be found in many historical buildings.

There are several examples still standing, including Chehel Sotoon, Hasht Behesht Palace, and historic houses like Alam and Sheikh ol-Islam in Isfahan. There is also the House of Tabatabai in Kashan, Abbasian, Boroujerdi, Golestan Palace, and other such buildings in Yazd and Tehran. There are still Gereh-chini workshops in Tehran where this craft is still practiced.

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. For instance, Shiraz is named a “world city of [diverse] handicrafts”, Malayer is a global hub for woodcarving and carved-wood furniture, while Zanjan has gained the title of a “world city of filigree”.

In addition, the ancient city of Shiraz has been chosen to host the 39th General Assembly of the World Crafts Council-Asia Pacific Region (WCC-APR) in May 2023. Shiraz has a remarkable amount of handicraft pioneers. With an average age of 70, some of these pioneers are still active at their workshops. The occupational records of about 100 pioneers are collected and are annually praised by the custodians of the WCC General Office.

Available data compiled by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts suggests the value of Iran’s handicrafts exports stood at $120 million during the first eleven months of the Iranian calendar year 1399 (March 20, 2020 – February 18, 2021), Mehr reported. The country’s handicrafts exports slumped during the mentioned months in comparison to the same period last a year earlier due to the damage the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on global trade.

The Islamic Republic exported $427 million worth of handicrafts during the first eleven months of the calendar year 1398. Of the figure, some $190 million was earned via suitcase trade (allowed for customs-free and tax-free transfer) through 20 provinces, according to data compiled 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.

ABU/MG

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