عنوان مقاله [English]
Hammering colorful metals especially copper, silver and gold in the prepared surface of bronzes or brasses, which is known as inlaying was one of the most popular techniques of decorating Islamic metalwork from Iran and elsewhere in the world of Islam. Persian metalworkers have used this technique of decoration to make utterly functional vessels of base metals precious and luxurious products as silver and gold wares were. Furthermore, during middle Islamic period vast and unprecedented application of Inlaying bronzes and brasses with colorful metals, not only substituted a multicolor surface for a dull one, facilitated application of various patterns and more themes which absorbed the skills of some of the best artists of the period. Unprecedented use of figurative scenes is one of the most important decorative features in metalwork of this period; iconography of these figures sometimes is compared with those of manuscript illustration in the thirteenth century and later. A preliminary version of this technology of decorating base metals has been almost suddenly applied and pervaded in metalwork of northeast of Iran at the early twelfth century. Then, towards the middle of the century, there has been introduced much more developed and complicated methods of inlaying. By beginning of Mongol attack on Iran at the end of second decade of thirteenth century, already all inlaying techniques has been reached to their uttermost maturity and flourished unprecedently. After Mongol invade, too, Islamic metalworkers from western Iran and northern Mesopotamia, while preserving and maintaining their east Iranian precursors’ heritage, have indicated greatest technical and visual capacities of inlaying methods by producing exquisite, inlaid brasses. Nevertheless, sometime at the end of Ilkhanid period, production of inlaid metalworks ceased to thrive and lost its previous position and prosperity. Finally, however the technology has never been completely abolished, during later periods of Islamic metalwork its use has been limited considerably.
While introducing and technically defining inlaying methods of decoration in Iano-Islamic metalwork, this essay aims to depict a more detailed and precise picture of historical developments of this technology. Besides it tends to examine and analyze factors that has brought about those changes in the history of inlaying metalworks. In order to do this, here, having gathered necessary information and data by desk study methods, I have applied descriptive and analytical method of research to pursue and meet the goals of this investigation. At first, in order to gain a better understanding of what inlaying is, I have discussed nature of the technology of inlaying in Islamic metalwork and given an explanation of every methods of applying it. Here, I have tried, through a terminological discussion, to give a clear definition of main vocabulary and processes concerning this decoration technology. In the second part of this study, which is its main part too, I have discussed, through a historical narration, the appearance, formation and prevalence of inlaying technique in Islamic metalwork of Iran and indicated the most important developments and changes which has occurred during the history and life of the technology. In this part of essay, in addition to recognizing these changes and developments, I have tried somehow to investigate more into grounds and causes behind them. Finally, I have concluded that in development an also in flourishing of the industry of inlaid metalwork of Islamic period in Iran there has been various factors of influence, most important of which is aesthetic requirements and an increase in figural decoration on metalworks of the period. On the other hand, the almost sudden flourishing of book painting in Ilkhanid period and gradual decrease in demands for brasses and bonzes has made this popular industry decline during later periods.