Iranians nonpareil creators of metal works

By:  Tamara Ebrahimpour
Marlic golden cup (2000-1000 B.C.)

Iranians have been skillful creators of metal works since the prehistoric era, reviving metal with splendid artistic patterns.

Many Iranian texts, including Ferdowsi's Shahnameh (The epic of the Kings), have testified to the existence of creative metal work in the country.


Metallic Axe (1000 B.C.)
Living in a land rich in metal mines, Iranians were the first nation to use metal for creating a wide range of metallic instruments and alloys.

An epigraph found in Susa shows Iranian metal workers blowing into bellows used to forcefully pass air into a forge and raise the temperature to a suitable degree for melting metals.

Bronze and silver objects found in Susa and Tappe-Hesar archaeological sites show that rapid replacement of stone arms and tools with daggers and lances in ancient Elam.


Metallic ornaments (1000 B.C.)
Metallic objects including weapons, equipment and ornaments for horses and different types of dishes were discovered during excavations near the Zagros mountain range.

One of the greatest metalwork treasures was discovered in the northern Province of Gilan in 1961. The Marlik metal dishes showed an advanced form of art dating back to three thousands years ago.

Some 63 pieces of skillfully made gold, silver and bronze dishes were unearthed from 53 graves belonging to rulers, commanders and their families.


Golden cup (1000 B.C.)
One of the famous Marlic pieces is a cup made of pure and flexible gold. The cup is decorated with four embossed winged cows, created by hammer work.

A unique characteristic of Marlik metalwork is that it depicts various living creatures while they are in motion.

Coming to the Sassanid era, metal works became representations of extreme dexterity. The jewel-inlaid metal containers and silver cups of this era all have a breathtaking beauty.

Metallic Fire stand and Idol (1000 B.C.)
The Solomon Cup, made by Sassanid artists, is one of the most beautiful artifacts of the era. The golden jeweled cup is covered inside and out with rubies.

One of the most glorious ages of Iranian metal work, when Iranian artists created innovative designs and decorations on gold, silver and bronze dishes.



Metal horse statue (300 A.D.)
Iranian artists sealed a special sign on their metal works, which showed a falcon sitting over a little bird, thrusting its beak into the bait's body.

The art gradually improved till a new style and variety emerged. Metal works are distinguished by their unique designs and Persian scripts.

One of the symbols of Iranian artists was a lion attacking a reindeer.

The beauty and elegance of the original and innovative metal works of ancient Iran has affected many young artists, an influence which has continued to present day.

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