In the name of God
Lalejinis situated 5 kilometers (5.6 min) from Bahar, capital of Bahar County, Hamadan Province, Iran. It is situated in 17 kilometers north of Hamadan between longitude 48°28 E and latitude 34°58 N and at an altitude of 1731 meters.
History and Antiquity of Hamadan and Lalejin pottery
Hamadan is among the oldest Iranian cities and one of the oldest in the world. it was the capital of the Medes, around 700 BC. The special nature of this old city and its historic sites attract tourists from all over the world. Excavations and relics including potteries and earthenware from the hills of Hegmataneh and Pisa in Hamadan, Gian in Nahavand, Pari in Malayer and the temple of Laodesieh all are indicating that the age of this art in this city turns back to thousands of years ago. Hamadan province has eight counties. Based on the latest statistics there are a total number of 2408 active factories in Hamadan including 550 in Hamadan, 30 in Malayer, 17 in Tuyserkan, 19 in Razan, 716 in Lalejin, 3 in Famenin, 3 in Kabudarahang, 14 in Nahavand and 56 in Asadabad have been identified which are producing potteries. More than 6296 people are working in these factories. Lalejin is regarded as the heartland of the pottery of Iran.
The Joint-Stock Company of Lalejin Earthenware was founded by a man from Hamadan 1936. The company had the exclusive right of selling Lalejin’s pottery and the potters working outside had to submit their works to it, should they wanted to sell their products, and after grading their products the company would let the process go. Changing the furnace fuel from traditional method into fuel oil in 1945 is of the services that this company had given to the people of this region. Before that people had to pile up the thornbushes from neighboring deserts or they had to buy them to burn their furnaces which was a tough, time consuming job. By replacement of kerosene the baking became easier and cleaner.
The History of Pottery
Pottery is the first synthetic material ever created by humans. The term refers to objects made of clay that have been fashioned into a desire shape, dried, and either fired or baked to fix their form. Due to its abundance and durability, pottery is one of the most common types of items found by archaeologists during excavations, and it has the potential of providing valuable information about the human past.
Roman Ghirshman, the well known French archaeologist and Iranologist, who has written many valuable book about Iran believes: “The first clay objects belong to Bakhtiari mountains that date back to approximately ten thousand years ago and were made without using pottery wheels.The features of excavated samples indicate that in those says the potters were unfamiliar with pottery furnace and probably baked their earthenware by the open fires they used to cook their own meat”. (Yavari, H.(2008). A view on Ceramics of Lalejin. Hamadan’s Articles on Introducing Economic and Trade Talents)
Potteries in Islamic Period
Potteries in Islamic Periodbased on their decorations either before or after the firing can be divided into the following categories:
Simple pottery without glaze(pic5), simple pottery without glaze having engraved patterns(pic8), homochromatic glaze pottery(pic 9&10), homochromatic glaze pottery with pattern carved in relief (pottery embossed), pottery with engraved patterns and colorful glaze, known as “under glaze engraving”, enamel pottery, golden colors pottery, pottery with painting under glaze(pic12), formwork pottery, panels of glazed earthenware tiles, blue and white pottery(pic12,A&B), Kobacheh pottery.
History of Habitance
Pottery factories of Hamadan are mostly situated in Lalejin. Lalejin's history spans around two thousand years. This city was rather a big village which was affected by various changes during history and was completely ruined. The new city was built to the south eastern part of the old city… so the age of pottery wouldn’t go beyond 300 years. This art has been inherited from one generation to the nextup to now and still there is the same story.
Considering the export and mass production Lalejin’s pottery is the leading city in Iran.
Regarding economic situation there might be no place like Lalejin in the province of Hamadan. Fully occupied with pottery over 90% of all local populace are working in pottery factories (even women in some cases) or have the relating jobs and the rate of unemployment in this city is zero.
History of Productions and Selling
The first production unit in Lalejin was founded by a Joint-Stock Company
In 1963.In that times potteries were mainly without glaze, or with glaze and painting in different artistic shapes and colors on their bodies (pics 5&6).
Many factories are nowadays are using arabesque (islimi) and Cathay patterns in decorating their products.
Pic5: Earthenware crockwith traditional turquoise glaze
Pic6: A sample of using the Lady Sun
Pic7: A sample of using animated patterns combined with plants
Based on the findings it can be referred that the production of pottery started professionally around three centuries ago and during last century it had undergone a remarkable development.
Beside selling the products in Lalejin’s markets, they are also sold in seasonal markets during Nowruz (Iranian New Year’s Eve) and summer as well as the exhibitions. The annual income of these shopping centers is reported to be over $256,569.
What is introducing Lalejn as not only a significant shopping center but also as the capital city of pottery in Iran as well as the world is its history and the basic antique materials used in making it accompanied by innovation and special procedures of the regional masters.
By now there are around 1000 active factories in Lalejin producing different kinds of earthenware and similar products that are sold in around 200 shopping centers.The symbol of trust was recently dedicated to a number of three shopping center in Lalejin by the director general of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts office and the administer of Lalejin’s Trade Union of Pottery and Ceramics.In a contract between UNIDO and Iran’s Trade Incorporations, Lalejin’s pottery and ceramic cluster was investigated as one of the three industrial clusters of Iran.Historical background, the extend of activities and the access to clay are three factors that have given this city the chance of being an international city.
Prominent Masters of Pottery in Lalejin
Below is the list of some of the most skillful masters in the city and their speciallty
. Mohsen Khushoee, pottery
.Mahdi Khushoee, pottery and innovator of painting dice
.Mahmud Safari Rushan, glaze, clay relief
.Ibrahim Naderi, pottery
.AsqarAsgari, the oldest Lalejini potter, very skillful in making big crocks
.Hassan Ayyoubi, pottery
.NaserKhaliliFard, pottery and glaze
.NabataliNabati, earthenware tiles
.Nabi Allah Bahmani, very skillful in making big crocks
.Yaqub Ali Farzam, pottery and glaze
There are a number of techniques used when making pottery. These are manual, partly mechanised through to manufacturing techniques that are highly mechanized and are not very common in Lalejin. The common techniques are wheelwork, mold, slip casting, figures in relief and sculpture
Variety of Productions
Earthenware productions can be generally classified as the following:
Consuming, decoration, consuming-decoration,glazed or simple vases, dishes, decorative dishes, sculpture, pottery embossed.
Feature and Color
As having the amount of 2% iron oxide and titanium would cause the soil to turn, so Lalejin is different from other cities of Iran.
Pic12: baked potteries that their colors would turn to red
Pic13: glaze potteries
The common pottery glazes are turquoise green, blue, rufescent, yellow and gray. Today, thanks to technology, the wide range of glazes can respond all different tastes.
Teaching the Techniques
From long ago Lalegini potters have taught their sons the art or sometimes to their junior brothers following up this process a number of 72 training centers have started working by adding a course named Materials and Ceramics to their training courses. There are also some other academic courses relating to this art namely: Handicrafts, Pottery and the Production Line of Ceramics.
The results of these training courses under the supervision of Hamadan’s Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Office is as follow:
Training Course Number of Students
Panels of Earthenware Tiles 185
Painting on Pottery 82
Potter’s Training (strengthening earthenware bodies) 28
Potter’s training (Acquainting the Laws of Direct Tax) 18
Beside these courses there are also some congresses holding on every other times, some of which are: Traditional Designing,Principals of Packaging, Principals of Export and Marketing and Glaze Moulding.
A considerable amount of products is exported to different countries. More than 15 companies are exporting their works to countries of Germany, Italy, France, Netherland, Switzerland, Ukrain, Turkey, Spain, Denmark, Armenia, the U.S, Canada, Afghanistan, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait and ….
Lalejin has also won the prize of the Best Exporterof the country for 12 years respectively.
Success and Received Symbols
Lalejin’s pottery and ceramics course was registered as the National Heritage in 2016. The artist of this land were succeeded in receiving symbols in such a way that it can be said that in Iran’s national festivals there is almost one person to be chosen annually from this city.
The Speech of Iran’s Deputy of Crafts on Recommending Lalejin as the National City
Bahman Namvar Motlaq in defending Lalejin as considered to be an international city said: “Lalijin undoubtedly has been chosen as a candidate for International Pottery City”. In his visit to lalejn appreciated all the activate who help this city to be acknowledged as an international city and then he added: “At the time of announcement, there were many other cities standing as candidates, our country is the country of art and its people love art. Iran has many attractions and beautiful places which are all ponderable. In this regard and in spite that other cities have their own remarkable beauty Mashhad and Lalejin were finally chosen to be International.
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