Iranian pottery made of Azerbaijani clay

By Vestnik Kavkaza
Iranian pottery made of Azerbaijani clay

Several great states consistently existed on the territory of Iran from the middle of the first millennium BC to the middle of the first millennium AD - the Achaemenid Empire, the Parthian Empire and the Sasanian Empire - which left a significant mark in the history of world art mainly with their gold and silver coins, carved seals of semi-precious and ornamental stones, artistic traditions.

Meanwhile, ceramic art flourished in Iran since the end of the second millennium BC. Some samples of it can be seen even at the 'Art of Iran' permanent exhibition in the Moscow State Museum of the East. Among them are characteristic vessels with long curved necks, zoomorphic vessels made in the form of birds, vessels painted with images of birds and animals. This period includes a small clay figure imprinted with a stamp, one of the earliest images of the goddess of fertility, the cult of which was closely related to the beliefs of the ancient Iranians.

Goddess of fertility. Susa. 2nd millennium BC

The exhibition also includes later ceramic sculptures: a bird with a female head, a vessel in the form of a rooster's head. Such exhibits, by the way, refute the common misconception about Islam's ban on images of living beings.

Vessel in the form of a bird with a female head. Iran, Kashan. 13th century

Of course, ancient ceramic art is represented in Iran itself much wider. For example, there is a pottery museum in Tabriz - the center of East Azerbaijan province, where visitors can see the process of making pottery with their own eyes.

It is located in an old house, preserved since the reign of the Qajar dynasty, which was founded by the leader of the Turkic tribe of Qajars, Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar, and which ruled Iran since 1795. This house has become a center for training students and pottery masters, and now it hosts exhibitions of argil goods.

At the basement of the building one can see how to prepare clay for pottery, as well as the process of making ceramic dishes, and upstairs - pottery made of white clay, which is the main characteristic of Azerbaijan pottery.