TEHRAN — Hafshejan, a small town in Shahr-e Kord county in southwestern Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari province, is set to be named the national stone carving city, the provincial tourism chief said.
Hafeshjan’s stone carvings have nearly 800 years of history, and the products are not only famous at the provincial and national level, but also internationally famous, Alireza Jilan announced Wednesday.
Currently, 65 artisans practice this field in 20 workshops across the city, the official added.
Handmade items in this region are made by quarrying stone from nearby mountains, transporting it to the workshop, cutting it, and then carving it by a master craftsman, he explained.
Stone lions, which were placed on the tombstones of brave and courageous people of the Bakhtiari tribe in the past, are among the most popular stone carving products in the lesser-known province.
Bakhtiari nomads regard these stone statues, locally called ‘Bard Shirs’ as a symbol of bravery, bravery and characteristics such as skill in hunting and shooting in wartime as well as horsemanship on top of the tombstone of this group of people.
Scattered in some cemeteries in the province of Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari, in the south-west of Iran, these statues recall the men who enriched the history of their tribes in a mythical form by their names and who left this life.
Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari has various unique traditions and rituals relating to “tribal” ways of life. Special forms of music, dance and clothing are notable. It has considerable potential to become a vibrant tourist attraction due to its changing natural landscape. The province is also a hub for manufacturing wool felt products, which are mainly exported overseas. It is home to some 500 artisans, spread across more than 250 workshops, making handmade felt products.
Currently, about 40 tons of felt are made every year in Chaharmahal-Bakhtiari using traditional and modern methods, which could be increased to 50 tons, according to official data. Experts believe that Shahr-e Kord has the potential to be a global city for felt products.
With 14 entries, Iran ranks first in the world for the number of cities and towns registered by the World Crafts Council, followed by China with seven entries, Chile with four and India with three.
In January 2020, the cities of Shiraz, Malayer and Zanjan and the village of Qassemabad were designated by the WCC-Asia-Pacific region, increasing the number of handicraft cities and villages in the world of Iran from ten to 14 .
Shiraz has been designated a “world city of [diverse] Arts and crafts “. Malayer has become a global hub for woodcarving and carved wooden furniture. Zanjan has earned the title of “world watermark city”. And the village of Qassemabad, which is nationally known for its traditional costumes, has also been promoted as a global handicraft hub. Chador Shab, a kind of home-made tracksuit for women, however, was the main subject of WCC’s assessment for the village.
The value of Iranian handicraft exports amounted to $120 million in the first eleven months of the last Iranian calendar year 1399 (March 20, 2020 – February 18, 2021), Mehr reported. The country’s handicraft exports fell in the mentioned months compared to the same period a year earlier due to the damage the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted on global trade.
The Islamic Republic exported $427 million worth of handicrafts in the first eleven months of the calendar year 1398. Of this, some $190 million was earned through the suitcase trade (permitted for duty-free transfer customs and tax) across 20 provinces, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts.
Ceramics, pottery vessels, hand-woven fabrics as well as personal ornaments with precious and semi-precious stones are traditionally exported to Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, United States, Kingdom United and other countries.