TEHRAN – At the end of January this year, Iran Malayer was named the World Woodcarving and Wood Carving Furniture Hub by the World Crafts Council – Asia-Pacific Region (WCC-APR).
Located in the west-central province of Hamedan, the ancient city is home to more than 4,000 furniture workshops in which more than 8,000 wood masters and some 25,000 artisans are employed.
Although the art has been practiced in Malayer for a long time, it has been around half a century since it gained prosperity in the region.
In some cases the whole family is engaged in making traditional furniture and although they did not make much money this way, their love for craftsmanship and the growing perseverance of woodcarving artists from Malayer is now showing a new face of this craft to the world.
The artists and craftsmen of this region use the wood of beech, walnut and plane tree to make different products such as traditional, classic, steel furniture and sofas. Their other products are the dining table, the desk, all kinds of chairs, beds and decorative pieces.
Currently, more than 60 percent of furniture and wood carving products in Iran would be produced in Malayer and they would be sent to various Iranian cities or exported to countries in Central Asia, states bordering the Persian Gulf, Turkey and Iraq, among others.
Known in classical times as Ecbatane, Hamedan was one of the largest cities in the ancient world. Pitifully few vestiges of antiquity, but significant parts of the city center are devoted to excavations, and there is a scattering of historical curiosities.
Ecbatane was the capital of Media and was subsequently the summer residence of the Achaemenid kings and one of the residences of the Parthian kings. According to ancient Greek writers, the city was founded around 678 BC. AD by the semi-legendary Deioces, who was the first king of the Medes. The Greek historian Herodotus described the city in the 5th century BC as being surrounded by seven concentric walls.
AFM / MG