Khar Mohreh (Qom)
Khar Mohreh (Qom)
“big beads (Mohreh) which are worn around the neck of Donkey (Khar)” Dehkhoda states in the definition of Khar Mohreh. Khar Mohreh is among handmade ceramic products with light blue and turquoise blue color called also Kouji or Mohre-ye Mehr (meaning the bead of love) in the slang language. Qom province is now the only mass-producer of Khar Mohreh is all around the world. Researchers estimate the antiquity of Khar Mohreh to be approximately 6000 years as early as constructing the copper melting furnace. In the past, Khar Mohreh was used for removing evil eye, as animals’ neckless and sometimes for adding beauty to other handicrafts especially the textiles. According to the experts, people used these objects because their blue color pacified them and it was the popular and desired color of Iranian people.
The main raw material of Khar Mohreh is obtained of silica (flint) categorized as a variety of high-quality quartz and since this material lacks cohesion in itself, they added tragacanth, in the past, and usual glue, nowadays, to it in order to be cohesive. To form Khar Mohreh, silica and glue should be mixed with water in order to make a dense paste; then, small balls which are shaped using the hand palms need to be soaked into the glaze. Perforating the center of balls, potters place them in between sands (in 1200 centigrade temperature) inside the kiln. During the process of firing, silica is burnt in the kiln atmosphere but the glaze powder melted in effect of the heat resulted in a blue transparent layer on the surface of the beads. Unlike the glaze of typical potteries, Khar Mohreh glaze is used as a dry powder. The ingredients of this powder consisted of a plant named Ashnan (shrub), lime, quartz dust, a little bit of coal and one percent copper oxide. These beads were completely round-shaped in the past, however, they are today produced in different decorative forms and bulks such as the circle, triangle, heart, moon, star, fish, the cross, ashtray, medal and even like a jewel. All abovementioned objects are made with the aid of the mold.
Khar Mohreh has been commonly mentioned to in the literature and poems of different historical periods of Iran which indicates its usage; “Ah! Ah! shame on the shroffs who are not able to distinguish the right gem- when they consider Khar Mohreh as equal as the pearl” Hafez said, “the cow that is worn Khar Mohreh by people- will be killed by themselves when it founders”, said Nezami.