Compared with the residents of Mesopotamian and Nile coastal areas who had access to water and faced no difficulty in farming, the inhabitants of the semi-arid Iranian plateau focused on non-farming sectors for trading.
One of the fields in which Iranians gained sufficient wealth was the use of metal in making jewelry, DestinationIran reported.
Iranians created copper ornaments and strings of colorful beads in 3000 to 1300 BC. Silverworks were made in 2000 BC.
During the first half of the 2nd millennium BC, jewelry was made in Susa in the form of bracelets and necklaces with melon-shaped beads and hollow gold spacers. Both men and women wore them.
During the same period in north and northwest Iran, artists were using the same techniques and designs for producing jewelry.
The inhabitants of Shahr-e-Soukhteh (Burnt City), the ancient city in Sistan-Baluchestan province, were also known to have made jewelry.
1st Millennium B.C
A combination of several ethnic groups and newcomers from the overthrown dynasties of Mesopotamia on the one hand and the Aryan Iranians on the other hand shaped an enriched variety of traditions in the 1st millennium.
These artistic traditions were discovered in archeological excavations.
For example, at a grave in Azerbaijan province datable to 1000 to 800 BC, a girl’s bones were found bearing bronze discs, headband, bracelets, rings, anklets and strings of beads.
During the first millennium BC, in Lorestan province, bronze workers produced decorative and ritual ornaments, pins, standards surmounted by demonic figures and ritualized animal motif-like totems as well as daggers, swords, bowls and harness gear.
Metal sheets were also hammered to shape the designs of fabulous monsters on discs and quivers.
Achemenians and Parthians
The Achemenian art of gold work and jewelry was the result of harmonizing various artistic traditions in a very skillful way.
Some of the stylized objects found belonging to this era include gold armlets, plaques, roundels, bracelets, rings, torques, buttons, beads, pendants and gems.
The Parthian jewelry was more decorative than majestic. Goldworks and jewelry were made on a smaller scale and more simple designs.
Sassanians and Arab Invaders
Like other arts, goldwork and jewelry flourished under the Sassanian rule.
The intricacy of their seals, quality of coins, ornamentation encrusted on the crowns and the skill and style used in making silverware were astonishing.
After the collapse of the Sassanian Empire, the Iranian society surprisingly kept its cultural identity despite losing its political influence.
As usual, invaders accepted Iranian culture and ceremonies. In other words, they continued to use Iranian motifs and designs and brought new craftsmanship techniques to goldwork.
In practice, silverware faced general acceptance, but gold was used only by women. Therefore, the artists of other religions, like Jews, mostly carried out the goldsmith craft.
Goldwork in Post-Islam Iran
In the first two centuries of post-Islam period, designs and motifs were limited to classical, Byzantine and Sassanian ornamental traditions.
Between the 9th and 12th centuries, an Islamic style developed overwhelmingly, which was an abstraction of natural and geometric shapes.
During the 12th and 13th centuries, Iranian bracelets were made of gold, silver and bronze, cast or sheet metal.
They made gold earrings in the shape of crescent decorated with filigrees, granules, ribbons, scrolls or beads of different designs.
Gold necklaces were composed of spherical gold beads interspersed with polished stones, granulated spacers or geometric motifs.
Square or cylindrical amulet cases, gold, silver or bronze rings and precious stones engraved and used as seals for divine protection are among the gold products of those years.
The engraved patterns were varied and conveyed symbolic meanings either in arabesques or in the form of animals.
Timurids and Safavids
Timur was a notable patron of the arts. He had a pretentious taste for colorful precious stones encrusted on metalwork. Of course, this feature survived in Safavid and Qajar designs as well.
The Safavid miniatures are valuable sources of information concerning the era’s jewelry making and tastes of the court.
Both men and women followed certain fashions for ornamentations. Most Iranians were interested in precious gems for decorating their clothes or encrusting festal cups, ewers, flasks, dishes and pitchers.
Qajar jewels were influenced by western designs and motifs. One of the characteristics of jewelry under Qajars was the number of gold pieces brightly enameled on one side and set with colorful stones on the other side.
Later, Qajar and 20th-century jewelry became imitative. Foreign designs were almost copied in a way that their Iranian features were not decipherable. Westernization had swayed the society with regard to fashion, designs and motifs.
But there is a different category of jewelry in Iran worn by tribal people who have preserved a vigorous angular style with great strength of expression in a wide range of silver objects.
They are rich and varied in design, robust and helped preserve ancient designs.
There can be seen tribal women of various tastes and social status wearing crescent-shaped earrings, collars, bracelets, necklaces, medallions, plaques, armlets, brooches, pear-shaped/heart-shaped discs dangling from chains, small prayer cylinders, hair clasps and pins, and other tiny decorative pieces.
For instance, Kurdestan’s tribal jewelry was varied in designs and shapes. Symbolic motifs were used in them, without stones and a great deal of small coins and beads.
The noticeable point about tribal jewels is that their distinctive identity has survived compared to urban counterparts, just like many other features of tribal society.
Iran Favored by Chinese Tourists
Translated by Leila Imani
Iran has been recognized as one of the main destinations of Chinese tourists in the last few years, said the Iranian ambassador to China.
Mehdi Safari added that preparing infrastructures for attracting Chinese tourists will help generate revenues and create jobs.
He said the number of Chinese tourists visiting Iran has increased by 400 percent in the past two years.
Referring to the importance of attracting Chinese tourists, he said providing the required facilities will help attract more than 1 million Chinese travelers annually.
Safari pointed out that 86 million Chinese tourists visited other countries last year, noting that Iran should use the opportunity to encourage Chinese tourists to visit the beautiful and historical cities of Iran, including Tabriz, Shiraz, Isfahan and Mashhad.
Sung Chian, an official from a Chinese tour and travel agency, said language is one the most important problems facing Chinese tourists.
Referring to the weak presence of Iran in Beijing’s Tourism Expo in 2012, he said tourism is an industry and those who use all mechanisms for attracting tourists are successful in this sector.
The tour official noted that even small countries are trying to attract more Chinese tourists and undertake innovative activities to achieve this goal.
Handicraft Export Revenues High
Revenues made by Iran through the export of handicrafts are higher than that from carpet exports, said the deputy head of Islamic Culture and Relations Organization.
Speaking on the sidelines of the International Congress on Islamic Arts and Handicrafts, Mohammad Reza Dehshiri added that the experiences and knowledge of other countries in the field of training Islamic arts and handicrafts is very valuable.
He noted that workshops can be established to train Islamic arts and help the heads of families make a livelihood.
The official said holding such a conference is a serious step toward improving the status of Islamic arts and handicrafts.
Dehshiri noted that the congress is the starting point for increasingcooperation between Iran and the Islamic Culture and Art Organization (ARCICA), adding that this will help introduce Iranian-Islamic heritage to the people worldwide.
Dignity and Gravity
A vizier, who had been removed from his post, entered the circle of dervishes and their company took such effect upon him that he became content in his mind.
When the king was again favorably disposed toward him and ordered him to resume office, he refused and said, “Retirement is better than occupation.”
Those who have sat down in the corner of safety
Have bound the teeth of dogs and tongues of men?
They tore the paper up and broke the pen and are saved from the hands and tongues of slanderers.
The king said: “Verily we stand in need of a man of sufficient intelligence who is able to carry on the administration of the government.” He replied: “It is a sign of sufficient intelligence not to engage in such matters.”’
The Homa excels all other birds in nobility
Because it feeds on bones and injures no living thing.
A donkey, having been asked for what salary he had been elected to attend upon the lion, replied, “That I may consume the remnants of his prey and live in safety from my enemies by taking refuge under his bravery.”
Being again asked that, as he had entered into the shadow of the lion’s protection and gratefully acknowledged his beneficence, why he had not joined the circle of intimacy so as to be accounted one of his favorite servants, he replied, “I am in the same way also not safe of his bravery.”
Should a Guebre kindle fire a hundred years?
If he falls one moment into it, he will be burnt.
It may happen that a companion of his majesty the sultan receives gold and it is possible that he loses his head.
Philosophers have said that it is necessary to be on guard of the fickle temper of the king because sometimes they are displeased with politeness and at other times they bestow robes of honor for rudeness.
It is also said that much jocularity is an accomplishment in courtiers but a fault in sages.
Abide thou by thy dignity and gravity.
Leave sport and jocularity to courtiers.
Onions, 2 medium (chopped into small cubes)
Celery, 4 stalks (chopped finely)
Garlic, 5 cloves
Tomatoes, 2 medium (chopped into bite-size pieces)
Red bell pepper, 1 medium (chopped into bite-size pieces)
Cabbage, 1 large (chopped)
Water, 8 cups (boiling)
Coriander powder, 1 tablespoon
Lime leaves, 5
Olive oil, 2 tablespoons
Salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste
In a large pot over medium heat, add oil and saute onions, celery and garlic. Five minutes later, add the coriander and stir, followed by the cabbage.
Minutes later, add boiling water to the mix. Once the soup mix has come to a boil, add lime leaves, tomatoes, bell pepper, salt and pepper. Cover and allow simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.
Before serving, remove lime leaves and add lemon juice if desired.
Health Benefits of Cabbage
Cancer prevention tops all other areas of health research with regard to cabbage and its outstanding benefits.
Many studies have examined the role of this cruciferous vegetable in cancer prevention (and in some cases, cancer treatment). The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three types of nutrients found in this widely enjoyed food.
The three are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and glucosinolates.
Cabbage is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, which comes from its concentration of carotenoids such as betacarotene.
In terms of antioxidants in the newer, phytonutrient category, cabbage is impressive, even among cruciferous vegetables. Polyphenols rank at the top of the list for phytonutrient antioxidants in cabbage.
In fact, one group of researchers has described polyphenols as the primary factor in cabbage’s overall antioxidant capacity. Even white cabbage (a very lightly-colored form of green cabbage and the most commonly eaten variety of cabbage) provides about 50 milligrams of polyphenols in a half-cup serving.
Red cabbage is even more unique among the cruciferous vegetables in providing about 30 milligrams of the red pigment polyphenols called anthocyanins in each half cup. These anthocyanins qualify not only as antioxidant nutrients, but as anti-inflammatory nutrients as well.
Museum Electronic Guide
An electronic guide would soon be designed for Abgineh Museum in Tehran. A package of information related to the museum will be presented to visitors electronically.