NATIONAL

Iranian handicrafts to be unveiled

By Joel Lee
  • Published : Nov 20, 2017 - 17:33
  • Updated : Nov 20, 2017 - 17:35
The Iranian Embassy will help showcase the country’s handicraft treasures from Thursday to Sunday at the Korea Foundation Gallery in Seoul, marking the 2017 Iran-Korea Cultural Exchange Year.

The event, “Amazing Hands: Craft Art from Iran,” will feature handicrafts, historical artifacts and carpets, among other things. It is hosted by Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization. The opening ceremony will take place Thursday at 4 p.m. and visitors should RSVP by emailing culture@mofa.go.kr or calling (02) 2100-8335.

“Iran has always been an art and cultural matrix of the world and contributed to the richness of world’s arts and cultures. The list continues and includes imaginative Iranian poetry written by brilliant minds, such as Grand Hafiz, Rumi, Saadi and Khayyam,” Iranian Ambassador to Korea Hassan Taherian told The Korea Herald, pointing to exquisitely spun Persian rugs, enameled pots and metalwork of dazzling colors, dainty miniature paintings and hypnotic architecture. 

Traditional Iranian pottery (Iranian Embassy)

“Cultural exchanges between Iran and Korea date back to the seventh century along the ancient Silk Road, but the formal diplomatic relationship between the two countries was established in 1962. We believe that cultural exchanges between the two countries could further strengthen our existing friendly relationship and bring out new ideas of cooperation in unexplored areas.”

Iranian handicrafts include weaving, metalwork, woodwork, stonework, glasswork, furniture, enamel work and engravings, pottery, ceramics, tiles and mosaic, which embody the skills and cultural and religious symbols of premodern civilizations.

Handicrafts exports make up a large part of Iran’s non-oil exports, earning over $250 million from March through June (the first four months of the Iranian calendar). The province of Isfahan, 340 kilometers south of the capital Tehran, is the center of the nation’s handicrafts industry, and was named a World Crafts City in September 2015 by UNESCO’s World Crafts Council.

Nearly 200 handicrafts out of the country’s 300 types originate from Isfahan, according to Iran’s Financial Tribune. The government estimated that the revenue from the industry will reach $1 billion through 2022, with Isfahan at the center of global trade that is increasingly taking place online.

Online shops selling handicrafts have increased hundredfold to 200 over the last five years, and efforts are underway to create links with international sites such as Amazon and eBay, according to Iran’s Cultural and Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization.

By Joel Lee (joel@heraldcorp.com)