, ,

Wooden art pieces, Which we call “Khātam”

After a few days in Shiraz I realized that some of the amazing khatam-kari’s that I’d seen in Vakil bazaar have been inspired by the geometric patterns of some of these beautiful places, such as the tomb of Hafiz and details of Saadi’s mausoleum, the amazing mirror hall of the Qavam house and the memorable details of Nasir-ol molk’s mosque.

As our stay in Shiraz was near its finale we made one last stop to Persepolis also known as Takht-e-Jamshid – the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire.

The historical structures and remains exemplify the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979. It was such an jaw – dropping moment when we got into the site, we followed our guide and reached the entrance after a long walk and then up the stairs and into an area of beautiful columns, statues and palaces. We walked through an archway seeing graffiti from the 19th century. The stone depictions on the wall of men bringing offerings to Darius are well-preserved and relate the extent of the empire in 500 BC. Alexander the Great came 200 years later and destroyed the palaces. Above the palaces are the tombs of two later ruler. I’d recommend the climb up there as the view over Persepolis is wonderful.

This experience had a huge impact on me – it was not only very inspirational yet it had a really powerful expression as I could feel the vibe through the stones and statues. It is mind boggling to realize that Persians or in other words – human beings had the power of constructing such an amazing master piece around 2500 years ago without any technological facilities and advancements to amaze all the nations across the globe and to flaunt their own power and majesty of a powerful empire ruling about 2 third of all the lands of the earth.

And just like that,  our journey in Shiraz came to an end. Although I didn’t find the exact Ceēnie’s I had in mind, all the many sites and places were a dream which led to the idea of special ordering custom Ceēnies in the near future based on inspirations from the beautiful culture of Shiraz . Take a look at Ceēnies under the Khātam category of the site to see examples of beautiful wooden art pieces that were offered in this beautiful city of Love, Poem and Wine.

,

Beyond Inspirational

Beautiful city of Shiraz is a sight for the eye at any time of the year but I’d recommend spring time as Shiraz is home to infamous private and public gardens that one could only dream of their beauty and fragrance. Amongst our visits to some of these gardens were: Afif-abaad Garden, Eram Garden and the Qavam house which had the most profound effect on me!

One of the best life experiences was my visit to the Nasir-ol molk mosque. The multitude of stained glass windows turn the inside of the mosque into a riotous wonderland of color that is absolutely breathtaking.
You can only see the light through the stained glass in the early morning which was built to catch the morning sun. The sight of the morning sunlight shining through the colorful stained glass, then falling over the tightly woven Persian carpet, was so bewitching that it seems to be from another world (if you haven’t seen pictures yet, make sure to checkout our Instagram feed to take a visual glimpse at these descriptions).

On a funny note – that day ended by our last touristic destination at the Shah-Chiragh Mosque.

As we got to the mosque, we found two separate entrances for men and women (later I learned that mosques which are still active and have regular visitors to pray have a policy of separating women and men’s sections).

Well, that was still okay, until I was stopped at the entrance, and when I asked why? I was told I couldn’t get in because I wasn’t wearing a “Chador”(A long cloak used as a Hijab article by women to cover up). This instance was not only shocking yet very sad, to have woman without such particular Hijab requirement forbidden from visiting the beautiful touristic site. Being an Iranian and quite familiar with the rules and policies I still had a hard time digesting this so called requirement (so ladies, if you are visiting, don’t forget this policy).

Im not a quitter, so I didn’t give up on my exploration shenanigans. My travel partner and Ceēnie’s Co-Founder went inside from the men’s entrance and came back with many pictures and documents for Ceēnie. He mentioned that its hard to take pictures from inside and that if guards see you while your taking pictures, they will warn you about it. Once I saw the photos of inside the mosque I found Shah-Chiragh very beautiful. The decorative work in a mosaic of mirror glasses, is the inscriptions in stucco, the ornamentation, the doors covered with panels of silver, the portico, and the wide courtyard are very attractive and beyond inspirational.

, ,

City of Love, Poem, and Wine

After our visit to Kerman, I found myself packing again and this time I was traveling from Tehran to Shiraz. Ceēnie’s wanderlust journeys continued. Shiraz – The capital city of the Fars Province, and one of the oldest cities of ancient Persia is known to be the city of Love, Poem, and Wine (gotta admit this three work incredibly well together).I had a mission, I knew what I wanted and what was I looking for: More unique Ceēnies, perhaps similar to the incredible handmade copper ones I found in Kerman.

In any historical city its a given that you’ll find the most eclectic and unique items within the heart of the city – the Bazaar. Interestingly enough Shiraz’s Bazaar shares the same name as Kerman’s: Vakil Bazaar. The trip began as my business partner and I got lost throughout the city, parts of the royal districts and enjoyed our time in the magnificent city as tourists.

The grand Bazaar left me speechless. Each ancient trade center than remains from reign to reign and era to era carry on the most beautiful, nostalgic and cultural characteristics. Some similarities were evident between Kerman and Shiraz’s Bazaars. Architecturally they spoke the same language, both even had a mosque and public bath in the near premises even though they’d been constructed during various periods under different rulers. While exploring the Vakil bazaar I came across so many beautiful hand beaded fabrics and hand crafted carpets, jewelry, souvenirs and that smell, a scent I will never forget, of fresh spices were just mesmerizing.

Much to my surprise I wasn’t seeing Ceēnies that I was envisioning, however; I didn’t give up. I knew there must be something spectacular to be offered by this magnificent city – so I kept my eyes open and looked further. Khatams stood out the most. ‘Khatam Kari’ – is an ancient Persian technique of inlaying. It is a version of marquetry where art forms are made by decorating the surface of wooden articles with delicate pieces of wood, bone and metal, precisely-cut in intricate geometric patterns.

As we explored, sights were unbelievably beautiful, especially Vakil mosque with its candy- twist columns and beautiful haft-rangi tile works.  The tombs of two major Persian poets: Hafiz and Sa’adi are amongst popular destinations amongst tourists from all around the world. All the hype about Shiraz was no lie, it truly took my breath away. If you haven’t been to Shiraz yet, I hope one day you’ll get a chance to visit.

, ,

GENESIS

As I dove deeper into the old and narrow alleys of the Coppersmith’s section of the Vakil – Bazaar, I learned that in this modern age, Kerman’s famous copper Ceēnies offered at the Bazaar are no longer entirely hand made due to its close proximity to the legendary Jame’e Mosque. The historical mosque is adorned with beautiful art work on tile, which date back to 1349-1350 CE, making it a monumental site.

 

Back in the day each copper Ceēnie was hand crafted right in the heart of the Bazaar as coppersmiths would lay their raw canvas of a Ceēnie on a shared tool similar to a hinge and would hammer them, perfecting each handmade Ceēnie to reach its design potentials. Today the loud noise of this process is a threat to the upkeep of the historic mosque and its fragile structure. As an alternative, machine-made Ceēnies are privately hammered in each individual store to add final touches and unique details in order to maintain the authenticity and originality of the copper treys.

 

Initially I was devastated to learn of the contrast between handmade and machine-made ceēnies. The making of those specialty items are no longer completed via their traditional process. The nostalgic and friendly experience of all the coppersmiths that shared one hinge are somewhat forgotten. However, with candor I must admit that after witnessing the beauty of the old Mosque I too understood the importance of preservation and now have respect for the evident changes of time and modification of culture.

 

So to end a story that was planned to be short and sweet, which ended up being more sweet than short: I felt the urge to share this unique first experience with you to explain how the concept of Ceēnie was born. After my day trip to the Vakil-Bazaar I decided to extend my stay for another day in order to source a few of the beautiful copper treys and re-introduce them to the West by sharing their original story and making them accessible to the homes of art lovers and unique decor enthusiasts.

, ,

First Stop! KERMAN …

I’ve never been a fan of long road trips and my travel from Tehran to Kerman was no different. After hours of a not-so-scenic bus ride I finally got off, hopped in a cab and headed to a café that I had been recommended to located in the Vakil Bazaar. As I began to sip on my tea I finally got a chance to look around and take it all in – the beauty of the details, craftsmanship and rich culture was truly mesmerizing.

 

Kerman; my grandfather’s birthplace, my first stop!

 

Here’s a little fun fact: In 1271 Marco Polo had visited Kerman, the most important city in the southeast of Iran during a time that the area was a major trade center. Turkmens, Arabs and Mongols ruled the city after the 7th century. To this day, each one of those culture’s impact is evident in the city’s being. Architecture and eye catching tile works are some of the most significant elements of this city.  One of the most important reasons for the establishment of Kerman is its location as a crossroad. From long ago, this city has been one of the most significant locations that connected the West to the East and the North to the South.

 

As I was strolling down the narrow and historic alleys of this vast Bazaar built in the 17th century I stumbled upon one of the oldest Ceēnie makers in town, Mamad’Ali Nikraftar. I couldn’t help but notice all the beauty and art around me. He explained the process of hand making each copper Ceēnie – hammering them thousands of times to refine them to their maximum level.

I was deeply inspired by Mamad’Ali’s passion to work so hard which seemed so effortlessly with his hands, creating such beautiful art pieces that resemble years of history, culture, dedication, and tradition all in one Ceēnie.