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Nazok Kari of Kurdistan


Kurdistan is the province with second highest forest cover and sources of wood in Iran. The availability of sustainable sources of wood has led to very versatile wooden handicrafts to be created during different historical eras. The wooden handicrafts of Sanandaj, or Sananeh, is known to trace back to Saffavid dynasty. Even though no work of Nazok Kari from Saffavid era has survived, it is believed that this craft was very popular along with Sash windows. As it is clear, Nazok Kari, which in Persian language means “delicate crafts”, refers to making applicable and artistic objects from high quality woods. In this craft, pieces of wood are coated based on the intended design, and then very delicate and beautiful tools and objects are created from them by using exact techniques.

According to some of specialists, the wooden products of Sanandaj can be divided into two general groups of decorative and applicable. These crafts are consisted of Nazok Kari, “Orsi Sazi” or Sash windows, making frames and “Kharati” or woodturning. All of these can be somehow found in daily life of people. Nazok Kari of Kurdistan can be traced back to at least one hundred and eighty years ago, and a man named Master Ne’mat-o-llah is known to establish modern Nazok Kari. Some of the wooden works that has continued to be produced are backgammon boards, pencil holders, covers of Holy Quran, ashtrays, cigar boxes, canes, chess boards, spoons, bowls and plates, jewelry boxes, women’s bags, make-up boxes, eyeglass cases, and women jewelries in bright and dark shades that can be used in days and nights. Nazok Kari works are typically made by two methods. In one method, small and fine pieces are cut from woods with different colors, and then they are laid and sawed next to each other in a way that they look like one piece of wood. Then they are polished and painted. This method can be compared with wood marquetry. The second method is to use one kind of wood, commonly walnut, to make objects. In this method, objects are created by cutting and polishing pieces of wood into bowls, plates, and boxes for jewelry or make-up.

One trait of Nazok Kari is that pieces of Walnut or Buckthorn tree that contain knots are more popular in making some objects. And another is that the pieces are highly polished to highlight the natural texture of the wood, which leads to fascinating forms and mixture of colors.

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