PERSIAN PERFECTION

By: Maryam Khan

Persian paintings, beautiful handmade carpets and rugs, Iranian chai house and sweets are some of the offerings at the Iranian Pavilion at Amerat Park.

Over a steaming cup of freshly brewed saffron tea, Roghieh Hatami Pour, president and in-charge of the pavilion talks about what her country has to offer.

persian-tea

“Iran is famous for its carpets and traditional paintings. We are showcasing stones, silver jewellery, some excellent quality saffron and chai. The pavilion showcases products by 14 exhibitors from Tehran, Tabriz, Mashaq and Shiraz.”

Persian art

Roghieh adds, “Persian art evolved as the country underwent a revolution.”

The technique of miniature painting achieved its splendid grandiose, both in Iran and central Asia.

art

Three of the most influential schools were in Shiraz, Tabriz and Herat. Artists can be seen at work at their stalls, painting scenes inspired by Iranian history and everyday life.

Minakari magic

The art of minakari or enameling involves glazing metals or tiles.

Safreen, an exhibitor says, “Mina is the blue colour of heaven. Iranian craftsmen invented this art and Mongols spread it to India and other countries. Fine silver is used in almost all enameling because the enamel melts and sticks best to a pure metal. Enameling is the process of making metal models (fine silver usually) and then melting various colours and types of glass on to the model to create an object.”

First, a metallic substrate like copper, silver or brass is chosen and shaped. This forms the base of the enamel. Then, the body is covered with a white glaze using a dipping technique.

beads

Next, it is heated at a maximum temperature of 750°C, recoated with a higher quality glaze and heated again. In the past, enamel would be applied on tiles, ceramic or glass, but nowadays copper is used more because it is flexible.

Woven wonders

All Persian and oriental rugs, whether made in rural or city settings, are hand-knotted. Each rug has designs either copied from a pattern or is the work of the weaver’s own imagination. Each row of knots after being completed is individually tied using a variation of coloured wool to form patterns. A rug can take months or even years to complete, presenting a unique work of art, which is not only beautiful but practical and extremely durable.

instrument

Roghieh says, “Various materials, tools and knots are used in the weaving of Persian and oriental rugs. If a carpet has 50 knots within 6cm, it is of good quality. If it has 60 or more knots, it’s an excellent piece. The cost varies from RO100 to RO12,000.”

Qahievah khawani (chai house)

Qahieveh Khawani is a major attraction for visitors to the Iran pavilion.Visitors are made to feel at home as they are seated on plush chairs and served the beverage in small glasses. The sellers also pull tricks on customers to make them laugh. After the crisp, clear tea is poured into the cup, a stick of saffron sugar stick is immersed into it to enhance the flavour. Ehlam, famous as the tea girl at the pavilion says, “People love our tea. Saffron is good for your skin. The tea goes very well with the traditional Iranian sweet, gazz.”

SAFFRON TEA: BREW YOURSELF A CUP

tea

INGREDIENTS

-4tsp tea leaves

-4 cups water

-4 cardamom pods

-4tsp brown sugar

-1/2tsp saffron strands

METHOD

Heat the water with cardamom pods and saffron. Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Add tea leaves, turnoff the heat and leave to rest with the lid on for about ten minutes. Strain, add sugar and serve hot. Add a few strands of saffron for garnishing

SOURCE: MUSCAT DAILY