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What is engraving?

Qalamzani in the literal sense comes from decorating and carving patterns on metal objects, especially copper, gold, silver, brass.

In another definition, it is the creation of lines and patterns through a pen with a hammer and on metal objects.

Engraving is one of the most popular disciplines of traditional Iranian arts, which is in the category of arts, in the category of artificial arts, and in the category of metalwork.

Engraving on copper, making objects with copper metal, brass, silver, by cold method is called “Davat gari”.

Engraving that is several thousand years old; It became popular during the Achaemenid period and reached its peak during the Sassanid period.

Now, in order to engrave in the first place, the inside or under the desired container or tray, which is usually made of silver or gold, is filled with a solution of bitumen and gypsum so that the noise of the pen does not bother the ear less. The artist must also prevent the container from being punctured during the work.

And then draw the desired pattern on the container and select the appropriate pen and fix it on the surface of the container and hammer on the end of the pen so that the grooves and patterns are created by changing the intensity of the impact on the container.


The date of engraving in Iran:

The engraving background is attributed to the time of the Scythians or Sites who were of Aryan descent. Hasanlu Gold Cup, which was discovered in 1336 and has prominent motifs such as the gods on a chariot, dates back to the first millennium. Marlik’s gold cups are also among the engravings of this period.


From the Median period, which came to power in Iran in the seventh century BC, few engravings have survived.


With the formation of the Achaemenid government, the art of calligraphy also changed and influenced the later period. This period is in fact the peak of metalworking, but due to Alexander’s attack and the burning of Persepolis, many works were destroyed and melted into coins by Alexander’s order.


During the Sassanid period, that is, in the years 224 to 650 AD, due to the expansion of trade between Iran, Greece and Rome, Iranian art was influenced by Greek and Roman art. The most common utensils of this period were the trays on which the Sassanids wrote pictures of hunting and kingdoms, such as gift-giving ceremonies.


The art of engraving is one of the handicrafts of Isfahan, Shiraz and Tabriz, each of which has its own style.

Engraving is the process of decorating and carving patterns on metal objects, especially copper, gold, brass, and yarn.

In other words, creating lines and patterns with a pen by striking a hammer on metal objects.

Copper is more common in the art of engraving than other metals due to its softness and ductility.

On the other hand, according to archaeologists and art historians, copper is the first metal that was considered by humans in the art of metalworking and engraving.

The art of engraving is one of the traditional arts of Iran that can be categorized, in the category of industrial arts and in the group of metalworking.


Engraving is a high and valuable art in the traditional culture and spiritual art of Iranians and has a special place, which with the help of the taste and thought of the Iranian artist, influenced by customs, traditions, culture and religion, in expressing the views and beliefs of Iranians to the most beautiful metal object.

It has played a closed role in the long history of various events and developments and has passed its permanence to the next generations.


The art of engraving on metal is more important to artists because it has more durability and survival than other objects.

The motifs and symbols of the motifs in different historical and cultural periods are different based on ideological and cultural changes and change under the influence of social conditions and follow the course of evolution.

The history of engraving dates back to the time of the Scythians or Sites who were of Aryan descent.


Engraving styles:

There are three main styles in Iranian engraving that we have introduced:

Shiraz Tabriz and Isfahan.

In Shiraz style, engraving with two fine pen methods, which was common on metal (copper) and (brass) in the Safavid and Zandi periods and before that, and embossed or inlaid, which in the Qajar period, modeled on the Achaemenid style, even today It is also used.

Engraving is mostly used on silver.

The method of execution of the work is as follows: After designing on the work and cutting it in half, embossing and flooring begin.

In this style, Achaemenid and Sassanid motifs and ‘Gol Morgh’ are used more. In Iran, this style has been named Shiraz style and it should be noted that this style is specific to Shiraz.

In Tabriz style, for moving the pen and performing engraving, movement and pressure of the wrist are used, also in Isfahan style, hammer blows are used.

Of course, the Tabriz pen is smooth and shallow, but the Isfahan pen is deeper.

Engraving in Isfahan also has two separate styles, which are known as “fine engraving and embossed engraving”.

Isfahan artists have done this style a lot in recent years.

Embossed engraving has deeper embossments and creates a three-dimensional state. This is how engraving is used in the construction of the shrine of Shiite Imams.


Making silver engraving products

The raw material needed by silversmiths is 84-karat silver, which is available in sheets, silver coins, and antiques. First, the silver is melted and made into ingots.

By rolling, these ingots are turned into silver sheets, and then they are cut and soldered to the desired size with scissors, and they are shaped to the desired shape with a hammer. Objects made in these workshops include tea set, vase, candlestick, box, bowl, sugar bowl, photo frame and…


Engraving of silver products

After making the silver product, it is taken to the engraving workshop. In the engraving workshop, the design is first mentally applied to the product without the use of a pattern, and then it is engraved with a hammer and an iron pen, which are usually made by the craftsmen themselves.

After engraving, the product is returned to the workshop for polishing and polishing, and after this stage, it is offered to the applicant.

Qalamzani - Copper

Qalamzani - Silver