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Plasterwork

Helpful information about Traditional Art in Iran like name, introduction and...

Plasterwork

Postby Parvaneh » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:15 am

Name of Persian Handicraft : Plasterwork (Persian: گچبری)

Description:
Gypsum plaster has been used as a building mate-
rial in Persia for more than 2,500 years.
Originally, it may have been applied to mud-
brick walls to protect them from the weather, but it was
soon used for its decorative effects as it alleviates the
bleakness of walls, Cais-soas reported.
As a cheap and flexible medium of decoration, it can
be secured to almost any construction material used for
exterior and interior surfaces, and can be molded and
carved in a wide variety of ways.
Stucco was also used as window and balcony grilles,
and to construct stalactite vaults. In the hands of Persian
craftsmen, this humble material reached unsurpassed
heights of artistic creativity.
Preparation and application
Gypsum, the mineral from which plaster is made, is
widely available.
Traditionally, the quarried gypsum was taken to the kiln
where it was burned, crushed with wooden mallets to the
size of hazelnuts and pulverized in an edge-runner mill.
Persian gypsum sets rapidly after being mixed with
water. Hence, to make it workable, the mixture must be
stirred constantly until it loses most of its setting power.
This “killed” plaster is applied to walls and ceilings in
several coats and does not set hard for 48 hours.
For fine stucco work, the wet plaster is dusted with
powdered talc and gypsum, and then rubbed to give a
high gloss. For painted surfaces, the plaster is soaked
with linseed oil and coated with sandarac oil.
Plaster in ancient Iran
Plaster, known as early as the Neolithic period, be-
came common during the Achaemenid rule.
Achaemenid palaces at Persepolis had brick walls
with a fairly thick coat of plaster, which was often paint-
ed with earthy colors. For instance, the columns of the
Treasury Hall had a plaster coating applied to a layer of
reed rope coiled around the wooden core.
The use of plaster rendering on walls and columns de-
veloped during the Parthian period. At the Parthian site
of Qal’eh-ye Yazdegerd, for example, the walls were
covered with stucco molded and carved in repeat pat-
terns and repetitive figural compositions.
Surfaces were divided into flat panels and bands of
repeated designs suggestive of textile ornament and the
relief designs were painted in bright, even gaudy colors
and executed in varying scales.
This lavish use of plaster was a hallmark of Sassanian
architecture, when columns were sheathed and walls
encrusted with plaster that was carved and molded in a
wide variety of geometric, floral and figural motifs, as
the palaces at Tappeh Hessar southeast of Damghan in
Semnan province.
The Sassanian tradition of elaborate plaster decoration
on walls and columns continued into Islamic times.
Most of the polychrome stucco decoration from Chal
Tarkoan near Rey, including small figural relief plaques,
large human and animal reliefs and statues, probably
date back to the Umayyad presence in Persia.
Stucco was the ideal medium to cover the vast mud-
brick palaces erected in the mid-9th century by the Ab-
basid caliphs at Samarra in Iraq. In fact, the prestige of
the capital province meant that stucco decorations were
enthusiastically adopted throughout the Muslim land.
Three increasingly abstract styles (A-C) of carved and
molded decorations have been delineated. In styles A
and B, vegetal forms are still recognizable, but style C,
which is the beveled style characterized by a distinctive
slanted cut, contains endless rhythmic and symmetrical
repetitions of curved lines with spiral terminals.
Manifestations
Carved stucco decorations in styles A and B cover
most of the super-structure of the nine-domed mosque at
Balko in Afghanistan (9th century).
At the 10th-century Friday Mosque at Nain in central
Persia, beautiful stucco decorations carved in styles A
and B cover the columns and motifs in the six bays in
front of the three-tiered prayer niche, which is decorated
in rich relief that is almost three-dimensional.
The beveled style was first documented in Persia in the
carved stucco panel above the prayer niche in the shrine
of Davazdah Emam in Yazd, dated 1037.
The Islamic avoidance of figural imagery in religious
contexts meant that most of the patterns in mosques and
tombs are geometric, floral and epigraphic, but secular
buildings, such as the 12th-century Regent’s Palace at
Termedo, show that figural and animal subjects were
also used.
The tradition of carving stucco in increasingly high re-
lief can be traced in prayer niches from medieval Persia.
In the finest examples, such as the prayer niche in the
congregational mosque of Ardestan, Yazd, where ara-
besques of stems and leaves on intersecting levels create
a sense of movement and depth.
This style continued into the 14th century, as in the su-
perb prayer niche added to the winter hall of the Friday
Mosque in Isfahan in 1310.
From this period onwards, molded stucco elements
were also assembled in elaborate stalactite vaults (e.g.,
the tomb of Abdolsamad at Natanz) and their effect was
often heightened by painted decoration.
Elaborate stucco revetments were popular under the
Safavids (1501-1732), when palace interiors were deco-
rated with stalactites and niches intended for the display
of porcelains and other wares.
Window and balcony grilles were made of lattices cut
from plaster boards and the openings were filled with
stained glass.
From this period onwards, mirror was also set in
plaster and elaborate carved and painted plaster re-
mained the standard decoration in fine Qajar houses
and palace.

http://www.iran-daily.com/1392/9/6/Main ... 4661_6.pdf


Availability: in most of regions in Iran.


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