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Iranian artist evolves traditional Persian illumination

Iranian artist evolves traditional Persian illumination

Persian Illumination Evolution

Mohammad Hossein Aghamiri, a celebrated Iranian artist, dedicates up to six months crafting a single piece of Persian illumination. This historic art form involves intricate floral designs, spiritual symbols, and detailed calligraphy. Historically, it served to enhance important texts like religious scriptures and literature.

Despite being steeped in tradition, Aghamiri embraces contemporary influences, blending them seamlessly with time-honored Persian illumination. His artworks are personal, reflecting his understanding of nature and the divine. This has led to international acclaim, helping to preserve Iranian cultural heritage while pushing the boundaries of Persian illumination.

Aghamiri is recognized as one of the last active practitioners of Tazhib, a form of illumination honored by UNESCO as an element of intangible heritage. This technique demands patience and precision, which Aghamiri has exemplified over the past three decades. His commitment helps preserve this Persian art form and disseminate its knowledge to future generations.

Originating in pre-Islamic Sassanid Iran, Tazhib uses abstract geometric patterns.

Blending modernity with historic Persian art

It requires immense attention to detail, as any minor mistake can disrupt the artistic balance. It’s primarily used to adorn margins of sacred texts, thus it carries significant cultural importance.

In his creations, Aghamiri employs elements like the sun, intricate geometric shapes, and floral patterns. He paints with naturally derived materials, preferring gold for its impressive visual effect, despite its cost. His work often revolves around themes of beauty, spirituality, and the cosmos, using intense colors drawn from natural pigments.

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While gold’s expense is considerable, Aghamiri believes it enhances his art and its symbolic references to purity, luck, and divinity, aligning with his spiritual beliefs. His style invites viewers into a world where natural elements and colors convey stories through meticulous detail.

Aghamiri’s work, influenced by his family’s Iranian craftsmanship heritage, is exhibited in significant museums across Iran and Arab Gulf nations. His art, esteemed for its authenticity and skill, is popular in the Emirates, Qatar, and Turkey. He also offers online classes worldwide, furthering interest and understanding of Persian art.

Over time, he has observed an increasing interest in Persian illumination, renewing his optimism for the future of his craft. Despite earlier fears for its preservation, the resurgence of this art form suggests a prosperous outlook for the industry.

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