0901 GMT September 20, 2017
Kalpourgan pottery, which originated in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, has gained international recognition, said an activist in the handicrafts sector.
Setram Delvari further said that Kalpourgan pottery production dates back to 7,000 years and has been handed over through generations from mothers to daughters.
He said 60 entrepreneurship houses have been established province-wide to promote the handicraft industry.
Delvari added that due to presence of ferrous oxide in the soil, Kalpourgan pottery becomes red after it is baked in furnace at temperatures ranging from 970°C to 1,200°C for 72 hours.
The designs on Kalpourgan potteries are inspired by natural elements and imagination of local artisans, he said.
According to him, Kalpourgan pottery has 30 geometric designs.
In addition to Germany, Italy, France and Spain, three other countries are customers of Kalpourgan potteries, he said.
Plans are at hand to renovate pottery kilns and develop Kalpourgan Region in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan.
Kalpourgan pottery is one of superior handicrafts of Iran, which is still made traditionally.
Pottery items produced at Kalpourgan bear great similarity to specimens unearthed during archeological excavations carried out in Sistan-Baluchestan, Kerman, Gilan as well as parts of Japan and India.
The village of Kalpourgan is located 25 kilometers east of Saravan.
Perhaps the most striking feature of the pottery of Kalpourgan is its manufacturing technique, which is based on ancient methods and styles. This type of pottery is produced by using the coil technique.
Its products are unglazed and adorned with dark brown patterns.
The potters of Kalpourgan are all women who contribute to family income.
They don't use the wheel and shape their products by hand.
An aqueous mixture of tytok (a type of ferrous oxide) and a stone found on Mt. Birak, near the village, is applied using a match-sized stick of daz (wild date) wood.
The decoration consists entirely of abstract symbols and images passed from generation to generation, which reflect their religious beliefs or environmental features.
A majority of these symbols are similar to those found on potteries belonging to prehistoric and early historic periods.
The raw material used in the manufacture of Kalpourgan pottery consists of a particular type of clay. Villagers bring it in from a region known as Mashkotak, two kilometers northeast of Kalpourgan, and blend it with a slip-like mixture to prepare the clay, which they hand over to nimble-fingered women.
The pottery items produced in Kalpourgan include bowls, jugs, cups, pitchers, cooking vessels, etc. Most of these vessels feature a lid that can also be used as an independent vessel. Cup-shaped lids can also be used to cover large bowls.
Another interesting feature of the pottery of Kalpourgan is their handles. Unlike present-day pottery, these handles are even more resistant than the vessels themselves. Each handle is formed out of a thick coil of mud, which the artisan pastes to the moist body of the vessel and gives it the desired shape by means of different tools.
These handles are much better executed than those of the glazed pottery produced in the middle of the Islamic period.
Kalpourgan pottery is also known for its diversity, which manifests itself in the form of vessels shaped as animal heads, pomegranate-shaped incense burners (used to burn wild rue seeds and locally known as sokaky), vessels shaped as camels, etc.
The thickness of these varies between one and 5.5 centimeters. Their color is gray prior to firing and reddish brown after baking.
The pottery of Kalpourgan may also be subdivided into categories such as toys, water pipes, food and water containers, bowls, vessels, flat trays and jars for keeping dates, which again indicates the diversity of these items and their wide range of use.
In the early 1970s, a workshop was set up at Kalpourgan to coordinate the activities of the region's potters.
Extending over an area of 3,800 square meters, this workshop has a built-up area of 386 square meters. Its architecture is well-adapted to the desert and is the meeting place for talented women craftsmen of the area.
Today, this workshop has been transformed into the Museum of Kalpourgan Pottery.