Iran Art Exhibition
Iran Art Exhibition



One of the most popular arts in Zanjan is filigree which is a branch of the art of metalworking and is mainly made of high-grade silver metal. In filigree, silver bullions are made with a rolling machine in the shape of quadrilateral narrow wires with which small designs are made by putting them together and soldering them. The purpose of this essay is to introduce filigree and to identify the common designs and motifs in the filigree of Zanjan as well as the effectiveness level of the filigree patterns from pre-Islamic and Islamic eras, and the similarity of filigree patterns with Islamic-art motifs based on the geometric theory of fractals. The present article seeks to answer these questions:

1) What are the origins of some Zigzag filigree designs?

2) What types of motifs are common and used in Zanjan filigree and Islamic decorative art?

3) Are filigree designs compatible with Islamic art designs based on Fractal theory?

The results indicate that the origins of some filigree patterns are from ancient Iranian patterns, some patterns are taken from the invaders to the eastern borders of Iran as well as the geometric vegetative and simplified (stylized) patterns of the Islamic period. These patterns with other filigree elements form a complete semantic system.

The findings also showed that there is a balance in natural fractal patterns. Patterns of Islamic art and filigree, despite repetitions, irregularities, endlessness, incompatibility, etc., follow a particular order in general and they are balanced (unity despite plurality). Filigree designs have used the elements of Islamic decorative art and fractals from nature. In other words, all three are of natural origin.
Zanjan filigree works are part of the fine Iranian metalwork art which production has undergone changes in recent years. The existing works in the art of filigree are largely different from the old filigrees. Despite their apparent differences, the researchers categorize these works into a single collection. Although metalwork art has been referred to in many Iranian art history books, less attention has been paid to filigree. On the other hand, many of them have been lost due to the possibility to melt the filigree works, and few are available in some museums or owned by collectors, which are not easy to access. One of the most important ways to realize the history of filigree works is to recognize the forms and motifs common to the filigree and find the origin of the motifs and their transformation over time.

IRAN ART EXHIBITION: Iran has long hosted many civilizations from the past. The filigree works have been obtained from two periods of before and after Islam. These artifacts range from very basically decorated works to sophisticated ones. They have common features in the style of decoration and building method; features like the use of tap and dies of wires and delicate soldering as well as the use of abstract forms that are in fact the foundations of today’s filigree art. What was considered the goldsmithing work in the pre-Islamic era, slowly moved towards independence after the advent of Islam and during the reign of early Muslim rulers until it became of great importance in the Samanid era, that is a pinnacle of developments, and in the Seljuk era, that is the determinant of the policy of this art; then, during the Safavid era an art was finally formed, called filigree. Moreover, today’s filigree art had been invented in the Afsharid and Zand periods when some of the motifs invented in the late Safavid era came into being and later emerged in various forms in the Qajar period as well. Zanjan was established as the center and the largest production location of filigrees in the Qajar era.


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