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  • 8/2/2009

Qalamzani: Iranian Art of engraving images on metal  


Repousse or the Chiselwork, known as ‘Qalamzani’ in Persian language, is one of the most meticulous types of the fine arts in which the lasting decorative works engraved on metal objects made of gold, silver, copper, brass or other inexpensive alloy(s) elaborately depicts marvelous images of various plants and animals. Historically, the original form of this art dates back to ‘the Cave-dewelling Age’ when the Primitive Man skillfully carved his own image on stones making up the inner walls of his cave.

The ancient Persians mastered ‘Qalamzani’ several millenniums ago and particularly after the advent of Islam many cities in Persia such as Samarghand, Ray, Hamadan and Esfahan earned enviable reputation for their superb chisel works--only within several centuries.

 In thorough preparation for this work, the master craftsman fills the objects to be embossed with a hot mixture of pitch and fine sand or ashes, which after cooling is sufficiently hard and heavy, to act as a base yet plastic enough to give way when the embossing chisel drives the metal back. The creative engraver certainly needs the talents of a master painter plus the great skills of driving and hammering the various chisel on to a hard metal surface which is not flat like those of water colour or oil painting bases.


Other links:

Kamal-ol-Molk (A Great Master of Painting in Iran)

Kamal-ol-Molk’s experience abroad

Kamal-ol-Molks Style

Lithography in Iran (part 1)

Lithography in Iran ( part 2 )

Pottery, Serene and Shapely

painted pottery ( photo gallery)

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