Sun of Maybod’s pottery art under cloud of forgetfulness
By Sadeq Dehqan & Leila Imani
The city of Meybod in central province of Yazd has been a prominent pottery and ceramic center in Iran since several thousand years ago.
In fact, abundant raw materials and rich soil of the region caused pottery-making to become the main occupation of the local people.
The remains of colorful potteries, unearthed in Narin Castle, dating back to Sassanid Era, showcase the ancientness of the art in the region.
Those interested in the Persian pottery can definitely recognize the indigenous designs of sun, fish and chicken on the earthenware produced in Meybod.
Their designs, inspired by desert atmosphere reveal the lifestyle, ambitions and desires of their creators.
The major number of the designs are colored with blue, green, yellow and slim black lines.
The pottery products of Meybod, which are well-recognized in the world, are also exported.
However, the condition of pottery making, which once was a prosperous occupation, is not presently desirable. A large number of workshops have been closed in recent years,
putting the art on the verge of disappearance.
However, a limited number of workshops which are still operating in the city try to introduce the ancient art of local people to the travelers visiting the city.
Mohammadreza Aqaei is a skilled and old pottery maker who is active in his small workshop located in Meybod. The craftsman entered the occupation 50 years ago when he was seven years old and learned the job from his father.
He told Iran Daily that the pottery jars will never become old-fashioned.
“If people can recognize the benefits of using the
earthenware, they will never put them aside. The pottery jars reducethe impurity of water and make it lighter which helps preserve the health of people.”
Referring to the record of pottery art in Meybod, he said the city’s pottery and ceramic products had more than 160 designs, a large number of which have been set aside.
He said pottery makers who are active in the city have produced ceramics and traditional chinaware since the ancient time while there is no trace of such earthenware in other pottery producing centers of the country including Lalejin in Hamedan Province.
Aqaei noted that the clay used in pottery and ceramic making are brought to Meybod from Tabriz, Qazvin, Abadeh, Shiraz and Mashhad.
He stressed that a pottery maker should first recognize the soil and know which type of clay should be used for making jar and which for bowl.
He said pottery-making was an age-old occupation in Meybod because the soil and clay of the region, with its relatively good adhesion, is suitable for the purpose.
“The clay should firstly be sieved to separate its limes and then left for several hours to stiffen. Afterward, it should be trampled properly to be prepared for pottery making,” he said.
Aqaei used the potter’s wheel, very artistically, to convert a ball of clay to various earthenware including vase, jar, sugar bowl, jug etc.
“The potteries should be left for a while to become rigid”, he said adding then they should be furbished to be placed in the furnace.
He showed a number of broken potteries which were placed in a part of his workshop and said any carelessness may cause damage to the ceramic objects and waste all efforts taken to produce them.