The History of Glassmaking in Iran
17 Jun 2021
World of Handicrafts
To further study the history of glassmaking in Iran, it is first necessary to address the historical origins of glass in the world and go back to ancient times when man sought to know the ways of using glass (meaning natural glass) and producing its types. In a separate article, manual glassmaking and its steps are explained, and in this article, its history is fully discussed.
Examining the social developments of antiquity, it is clear that these developments found the necessary social preconditions for the development of industry and trade. One of the important issues related to glass in this period was the widespread expansion of natural glass stone trade among the tribes and peoples of ancient civilizations. On the eastern shores of the Mediterranean were Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia, which were mainly used for making beads and decorative beads, as well as sharp pieces for defense and hunting. According to historical evidence, the origins of glassmaking should be traced back to Mesopotamia and possibly to areas where sand and alkali coexisted.
The inhabitants of Mesopotamia and the surrounding civilizations made their first experiments in melting glass. Experiments whose products did not bear much resemblance to today’s glass and whose appearance was very opaque and full of unmelted grains. But the quality of smelting quickly improved, and the production of synthetic glass and the making of beads and beads from it became common in the early civilizations of antiquity.
In fact, the geographical expansion of glass making has been one of the basic trends of this art industry in ancient times. In particular, the civilizations of Egypt, Syria and Mesopotamia were at the center of the competition.
Alexandria in Egypt, Damascus in Syria, and Nineveh in Mesopotamia became the focal points of ancient glassmaking at the beginning of this historical process.
With the emergence of two emerging civilizations of Greece and Iran, glassmaking was transferred from Egypt to Greece and from Nineveh to Iran.
With the birth of the Persian Empire in the east and the fall of the city of Nineveh, which was the largest center of Mesopotamian glassmaking, the glassmaking industry was transferred to Iran through the glassmakers of Nineveh and quickly expanded into the Aryan part of the empire. Of course, the Aryan tribes of Khuzestan and Ilam, which were the neighbors of Mesopotamia, had been familiar with glass for a long time, that is, the second millennium BC, and especially during the Ilam Empire, whose center was Susa.
In fact, Iranian glassmaking has an independent identity and has had a profound historical impact on other works of Iranian industrial art. The rise of Iranian glass in antiquity and the expansion of Iranian glassmaking as a new movement is inspired by the same spirit that led to the formation of Marlik vessels. Specifically, the bergamot design on the floor of most Marlik metal utensils, which is also used on Iranian glass, reflects the religious beliefs of the Aryan tribes.
Especially if we consider the fact that Iran was a bridge in the ancient world due to its special geographical and commercial position, and therefore the entry of Mesopotamian, Syrian and even Egyptian glass into Iran and the interaction of the two cultures will be obvious. , Because this interference, the separation of Iranian-made glass and the interaction of the two cultures will be obvious. Because this interference makes it very difficult to separate the glass made in Iran and determine the pure and special Iranian innovations, and if we know that more than 95% of the Iranian glass found is in foreign museums, the problem will be doubled.