Persian Souvenir & Handicrafts
Handmade Persian carpets are known all around the world because of their unique designs and high quality. They are almost expensive but they worth every penny. If you can’t or don’t want to spend much money, you can check out some other types of rugs such as Gilim (Kilim) and Gabbeh (Gabba). They are both made of natural handspun wool yarn, and the colors are created by natural plant dye. Unlike carpets, they don’t have any plans, and they’re inspired by daily events so they can’t be copied. There are some differences between Gabbeh and Gilim. These items are found everywhere in Iran, but the carpets of Tabriz and the rugs made by Bakhtiari and Fars tribes, have higher qualities.
Termeh is a cloth that is handmade with silk thread and usually used as a tablecloth. It is expensive because of its quality and special yarn and perfect design. Nowadays Termeh is mainly made with mechanical tools, but the handmade ones are more valuable. The most beautiful pieces of Termeh are found in the city of Yazd.
Miniature is the art of drawing small pictures, which was used to decorate ancient or medieval manuscripts. It is a worldwide art and has been developed in both Europe and Asia according to their different cultures. Therefore you can see Miniature all around the world, but it is different in every country. In Iran,Miniature continued its development as a type of painting and there are some contemporary artists who worked in this field such as the famous painter, Mahmoud Farshchian. There are some shops all around Iran, which sell diverse types of paintings, including Miniature. So it is one of the Iranian souvenirs accessible almost everywhere.
Pottery and ceramics are also not specific to Iran, but Persian culture and history of art have specialized this art in Iran. Most Iranian cities have shops that sell pottery and ceramics. The center of this art in Iran is the city of Lalejin in Hamedan, which is known as the center of pottery in the Middle East. So if you want to buy small and cheap pieces of Iranian souvenirs and you care about its Persian look, pottery and ceramics are good choices.
Iranian metalworks are famous around the world. Ghalamzani is one ancient metalwork that has a long history in Iran. It is the art of carving drawings on the surface of metals such as gold, silver, copper, and bronze using a bar and a hammer. Ghalamzani is mostly done on dishes such as vases and big plates. Artists working in this field are mainly in Isfahan, Shiraz, Kerman, Kermanshah, and Tehran. So if you pass through center, south, east or west of Iran you will have the chance to see these artists and their art.
Turquoise is one of the Iranian souvenirs, that is not specific to Iran. But you can find one of the best types of Turquoise in Iran because it is solid and hard and is proper for making jewelry. Turquoise is Iran’s national gemstone and centered in the city of Neishabour. So if you have a special taste in jewelry, don’t forget to check out the northeast of Iran.
Ghalamkari is printing or drawing on cloth by hand. Artists use a handmade wooden template to print patterns on the cloth. The traditional and old way of Ghalamkari is drawing pictures on the cloth by hand but these days nearly no one uses the traditional way. These pieces of cloth are mainly used for making tablecloths, clothes, purses, and even wallets. These souvenirs are also cheap, light, unique and diverse. They are accessible in most parts of Iran, but the main center of Ghalamkari is Isfahan.
Khatam is the art of putting wooden or bone-made polygons together with a special glue. It is a very delicate art and needs many different specialists. The best types of Khatam are the ones with no space between the polygons. Main centers of this art are Isfahan, Shiraz, and Tehran. Objects made of Khatam are mainly practical objects, therefore they can be very useful souvenirs.
Minakari is the ancient art of painting birds and animals with the background of flowers on the surface of metals, mostly copper. It is one of the most popular handicrafts in Iran, generally made in Isfahan. Over the ages, the art of Minakari has fascinated many people including the famous French tourist, Jean Chardin, and the famous American orientalist, Arthur Pope. The prices are diverse, therefore you can either spend a lot or little money on this souvenir. So if you’re passing by Isfahan while visiting Iran, don’t forget to check out these special pieces of art.
You should never leave Iran without Saffron. You won’t find it better or cheaper anywhere else. Most of Iran’s saffron comes from Khorasan province, therefore it’s a typical souvenir of Mashhad.
The Iranian caviar as the best caviar in the world is a very lucrative export of Iran, with roughly half being collected from sturgeons near Bandar –e Turkaman. Its tiny grey pearls make the ever body’s eyes sparkling. One tastes it “like a sea candy, filled with iodine and powdered with mystery” (Robert Courteline).
Iran’s pistachio as an exclusively Iranian fruit is one of the best pistachios in the world. Even today, with the introduction of the product from some other countries, Iranian pistachio still ranks first in the international market thanks to its rich taste, unique way of processing, nutritive attributes and the eye-catching appearance that has made it famous worldwide as smiling pistachio.