History of metal utensils and tools

In modern age, the historical periods are categorized based on the rules of royal dynasties and governments. However, the oldest categorization of historical periods was based on the metal age. According to studies, Iranians were pioneer in using the metal age basis for such a classification.  Categorization of various stages of the human history on the basis of the quadruple metals has been mentioned in the Avesta. Four metals namely gold, silver, steel and an unknown alloy of iron was the foundation for categorization of historical periods. This tradition emerged in Buddhism later and found its way into ancient Greece, too. It was transferred to Babylon where scientists used this classification to identify relationship between planets and metals. They used astrology and astronomy to study effects of planet movements on the humanitarian history.

The metal age is broadly categorized into four main stages as follows:

  • First phase: The local existing metals were collected by the men who looked at them as specific types of stones such as copper, gold, silver and heavenly stones.
  • Second phase: The local existing metals such as copper, gold, silver and heavenly stones were collected and after hammering they were cut.
  • Third phase: This phase is called the mineral age as the men extracted mine stones to get access to metals and alloys such as lead, antimony, tin, zinc and brass.
  • Forth phase: This phase includes identifying and producing pig iron, low-carbon iron and steel.

Historical periods of metalworking

Undoubtedly, the man came to discover metals and understand their features accidentally in the beginning of the metal age. The early man was probably looking for some stones suitable for making tools when he faced some types of stones with features different from those of ordinary stones. Characteristics of new stones such as malleability, formability and cuttability were interesting to the early man and resulted in new goalsetting in his searches. The first stage of metalwork and metal age began when metals such as copper, gold, silver and heavenly stones were naturally found on the earth. On the early days, the man used these metals as ordinary stones and made no distinction between them and other commonplace stones. Gradually, he came to understand features such as malleability and formability of these stones by trials or by chance and consequently, the second phase of the evolutionary stages of the metal industry began whereby the man made a lot use of the newly-discovered characteristics of these stones. The third phase that can be called the stone stage began when the man embarked on digging the land to find metals that were not found on the surface of the earth. Having extracted stones from mines, the man separated metals from the ore. Mine stones such as lead, silver, copper, antimony, tin, zinc and brass were among the first stones extracted by the man. The myth of getting access to the metal in the beginning of the humanitarian civilization has eloquently been described in the epic poems of Shahnemeh, the masterpiece of the great Iranian poet, Ferdowsi. In his poems, Ferdowsi narrates that Hushang, the legendary king of the ancient Persia who lived during the early aged of human civilizations, discovered metals and made use of them. According to Shahnameh, Hushang gained some knowledge about the metal stones and found out the mechanism of extracting steel from these stones and making use of them. With the advent of the mine stone age and its pertaining requirement of separating metals from stones, some new enquiries were initiated including melting metals and casting. In fact, this stage was the initial phase of the first metal age.

The forth phase of the evolutionary trend of the metalworking industry was the discovery of the iron which was called the iron age. Previous experiences about melting the mineral stones and separation of metals assisted the man in the iron age when he managed to melt the mineral stone to get access to iron. The early irons obtained from melting the mineral stones were alloys of iron which contained carbon next to iron. Iron with carbon and pig iron were among the first alloys produced by the man.

The metalworking industry emerged as the man gained knowledge in two areas namely heating and separating elements. The primitive man understood that he could heat some of the bright stones and melt them to get to the shapes he desired. The other area of knowledge that functioned as the foundation of the metal industry was separation of elements by means of carbon. The man understood the bright stones that contained metals and were thought to be pure and bright could be separated by means of carbon and after cooling and solidifying, he could make tools he needed.


Birthplace of metal industries

Various ideas have been expressed about the first birthplace of metalwork and the path taken by the metal industry in the ancient world. Numerous evidences have been presented about this trend, too. Considering these documents, researchers have named various locations as the primary birthplace of the metalwork industry. All the evidences and studies indicate that the metalwork and metal industry initially emerged in the southeastern parts of contemporary Iran, Pakistan and southern parts of modern Russia. On the second leg of its development, the metal industry spread to Minor Asia as well as south and north Europe. In later stages, the metalwork and the metal industry were extended to other regions of the ancient world.

Metalwork in the ancient world

Metalwork and metal industry have experienced enormous transformations in the course of human civilizations. Metalworkers and individuals whose occupation was dealing with metal mineral stones, melting metals and forming metals enjoyed special status in their communities. The primary metalworkers carried out all the stages of tasks including discovering mines, extracting iron ores, separating iron form the ore and melting metals themselves. But in later phases of development of this industry, tasks gradually become more specialized and gained their own status as professions independent from the metalworking. In the ancient world, metalworkers usually worked in groups and networked associations for undertaking tasks of metalworking. Civilizational-wise, metalworkers were the first group of men to form professional groups. Therefore, they can be regarded the first professional individuals with the guild associations. Metalworkers of the ancient world had to travel to different territories because of the natural requirements of their professions or due to social factors such as wars. The metalworking and metal industry expanded largely as the result of these travels and immigrations. Human factors, i.e., metalworkers themselves played the key roles in the process of such expansion. They transferred their knowledge and experiences to other regions by travelling from one point to the other.

Metalworkers gained special status in the ancient world. They were never treated like ordinary men and they were attributed a kind of supernatural and magical powers in some communities. Consequently, metalworkers were categorized under the category of devils and magicians by some people and some other individuals, conversely, put them in the category of people with exalted positions and ranks. Metalworkers were considered as the sage and wise classes of the primary communities. Abilities attributed to metalworkers usually took roots in beliefs held by the people of that time about the identity of metalworkers. People believed that those metals were different from ordinary materials. They thought metalworkers were capable of doing strange things of unearthing special matters and performing some special tasks on those materials which resulted in production of other materials with special features such as hardness, malleability and formability. As a result, metalworkers were looked at weird individuals by those surrounding them and they were given special status in their communities. The special status of metalworkers in the ancient communities were highlighted so much that they were sometimes were given positions like divinities or were looked at least as the ethnic and national symbolic heroes. In the ancient cultures of the ancient nations, names of some metalworkers had been enumerated that held high status and lots of legends had been narrated about them. In some cultures, metals were looked at items from celestial worlds. In the ancient Persian culture, Shahrivar was one of the seven archangels before Yasna, the guardian of metals in the universe (materialistic world). In Avesta, the religious text of Zoroastrianism, some references have been made to Shahrivar that specifically means metals. For instance, it has been asserted that the Archangel of Shahrivar shall get upset with those who use gold and silver badly and/or let the metals go rusty.

Religiously-speaking, the positions of metalworkers were different from other people. In the ancient civilization of Sumer, metalworkers were not free, rather they were associated with the economic organization of temple governments. Even at temples, there were some members of monks who possessed knowledge of metalworking responsible for supervising metalworkers and their activities. In Mesopotamia and other regions, there were some gods that were guardians of metalworkers or symbols of metalworking and metalworkers. The legendary hero of Sumer was named Gilgamesh which literally means a man of fire and firewood. This epic legendary figure indicates the special status of metalworkers and support given to them by supernatural and more sacred beings. In the ancient Persia, special attention was paid to artisans and metalworkers whose high positions in the communities had been reflected in the ancient Persian legends. One example is the famous Shahnameh story of Kavek, an Iranian blacksmith, who revolted against the ruler, Zahhak, and provoked people to stand against the tyrant.


Metalworking in the ancient Persia

Documents obtained from the ancient time as well as archeological theories indicate that northern and central parts of Persia were among the oldest hubs of metal industries in the world. The knowledge of metalworking spread from Persia to other territories such as Asia, Africa and Europe. In the fourth millennium B.C., copper was still used for making weapons, ornaments and other tools. In the second half of the fourth millennium B.C. some transformations transpired in the metal technologies as copper was obtained by melting the stones. In the ancient Persia, regions such as Kerman and Baluchistan were considered as main hubs for copper mines where later some copper melting kilns emerged. The copper tools of the fourth millennium B.C.  contained some volumes of gold, silver, lead, arsenic, antimony, iron, nickel and tin. Apparently, the ancient men accidentally managed to combine different metals to get various alloys such as bronze. However, since 2500 B.C. metalworkers have knowingly managed to combine different metals to produce alloys. The stone tools used at the early stages of the copper age were replaced by metal tolls such as metal axes. The beginning of the third millennium B.C. signified emergence of a new culture in the Najd territory of Persia where the first state of Elamite civilization was established with its capital city of Susa. During this period, great transformations transpired in the material culture. Apparently, these changes had originated in Central Asia and then Persia has absorbed these effects.

During the second half of the third millennium B.C., application of metals increased a lot. Plethora axes, bronze tools and silver or bronze ornaments obtained in excavations of Susa, Hesar Tepe in Damqan, Gian Tepe in Nahavand, and Geoy Tepe all belong to this period. The Bronze Age in Persia dates back to 2000 B.C. Apparently, most of bronze objects of this period were poured into stone molds. These molds were composed of two parts that were ventilated and connected with handles.

The first ornamental object appeared in 2000 B.C. There was a great amount of nickel in this object which signifies that the metal used there was obtained from a type of meteorite. The terrestrial iron used in the Mesopotamia in 2700 B.C. was not used a lot in Persia until 1000 B.C. As Aryans entered Persia in the early years of the first millennium B.C., application of iron increased dramatically in Persia. Kilns used specifically for melting iron in Qara Daq and in neighborhoods close to Tabriz as well as iron mines in the Alborz mountain range and in old Kerman allude to popularity of iron at that time. The emergence of zinc and its application in Persia date back to the Achaemenides era when zinc was used as alloys mixed with copper to form brass. Southern parts of Iran have always been rich in terms of zinc mines.



Metalwork of Lorestan

As of 1930, lots of beautiful metal works of Lorestan were presented in the antiquity markets across the world. These objects were unearthed by illicit dealers in old cemeteries. They had understood that tombs surrounded with meticulously-designed stones contained jewelries and ornaments buried with corpses whose original civilizations were not known. Designs and artistic works applied on these objects were so pretty and appealing that surprised experts. On some of these objects, Assyrian alphabets can be seen that indicate their dates and manufacturing places. Some of these objects date back to the 12th and 10th centuries B.C. but most of them date back to the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. Rarely can one see objects like bronze works of Lorestan in the ancient material culture since these objects enjoyed great intricate and advance designs and compositions. Enormous influence of the Hittites, the Hurrians and the Scythians can be seen in these objects; however, shapes and designs of lots of Sialk Mound can vividly be seen in these objects, too. Irrespective of these similarities, all archeologists and experts of ancient properties acknowledge that the metalworking of ancient Lorestan enjoyed much more independence and integrity compared to the concurrent neighboring civilizations of the Kassites. Artisans and metalworkers of Lorestan rose to perfection in terms of making bronze objects and concurrently they began their works in ironworking. Seemingly, lots of bronze objects of Lorestan were made through investment casting or wax casting. These objects are so pretty in terms of showing details of works, shapes and beauties that can be formed only via investment casting.


The Medes

The Medes rose to power in the 7th century B.C. in the northern parts of ancient Persia. Few metal works have remained from the Medes’ time. However, some metal works have recently been unearthed in Azerbaijan that signify the influence of the metalworking of the Scythians declined gradually and it was replaced by styles of the Medes. Cyrus, the Great, unified the kingdom of the Medes and the Parthians in 559-530 B.C. and established the first great Persian kingdom. This kingdom attained its pinnacle during the reign of Darius I when a new phase of industrial arts emerged. During this period, raw materials were available in abundance from various corners of the kingdom and artisans of other countries flooded to palaces of Susa and Persepolis. This new advancement can vividly be seen in a memorable tablet known as the “Susa Foundation Decree”. There is a reference to metals in this tablet whereby it has been asserted that, “Gold was brought from Sardis and Balkh, and silver and copper were brought from Egypt. The Medes and Egyptians worked on these materials to make intended objects.”



As Parthians rose to power and established the Achaemenides Kingdom (550-330 B.C.), metals and metalworking gained special status and importance and they left some impacts on the subsequent periods. Lots of metal works from the Achaemenides era have been discovered in different locations such as Susa and Hamedan as well as the treasure of the Oxus through scientific survey or by chances. Objects unearthed in Oxus and Hamedan were found accidentally. The Achaemenides era was the heyday of the metalworking art and its related fields such as casting, hammering, decoration and toreutics. There are some works and signs in reliefs of Persepolis as vessels in the hands of those offering their gifts to the court or as weapons in hands of soldiers. Following the invasion of Alexander to Persia and setting fire on Persepolis, the treasures preserved in the complex were set on fire. At the order of Alexander, lots of metal tools on objects of Persepolis were melted and turned into coins. Hence, few metal artifacts have passed to us from the Achaemenides time to show features such as hammering, decoration, toreutics and the like for indicating the metal identification of the Achaemenides era. Different types of metals such as bronze, gold, silver and iron were brought to Persepolis at that time which indicated the popularity of metal objects such as necklaces and earrings and relevant artistic activities such as toreutics.

During the reign of the Achaemenides to methods namely casting or molding and hammering were used for shaping and forming metal objects. Vessels of this period were so diverse in terms of forms and shapes. Decorative shapes have been formed in various methods on these objects to form objects such as jars, plates, gold and silver rhytons, weapons, ornaments, inscriptions and coatings of doors. Vessels are mainly shaped as jars that are made of silver, with cone-shape bodies and some vertical parallel lines, and two handles shaped as animals such as horses or wild goats.  These vessels can be seen in hands of people bringing gifts to offer to the court. Bowls have flat floors and wide bodies with flat rims. They have been decorated with dahilas and large petals covering the body and the floors decorated with pictures of animals such as wild goats inside an almond-shape designs. The motifs of decorations for toreutics of this period include mostly animal and plant designs such as palm tree leaves, flowers, lotuses, petals and horizontal lines. Ornaments such as bracelets, necklaces and earrings have been decorated with turquoises, azures, emeralds, jaspers and agates. Coats of doors have been decorated with silver or bronze toreutics

Sassanid Era

The metalworking of Persia prospered during the Sassanid Era. Silver was used so frequently during this period. Based on their diverse applications and shapes, vessels of Sassanid era are categorized into different groups such as frames, bowls, round cups, boat-shape cups with flat rims or scallops, jars and chalices. Another common vessel of this period was rhytons made in various shapes such as heads of horses and heads of ghazels. The other popular vessels of this period included goblets made in different shapes such as horses with saddles and bridles, busts of kings, and golden hanging ornaments. These objects allude to the noticeable progress of metalworking during the Sassanid era.

Metalworking was so prosperous during the Sassanid era. Two methods were used to make metal objects of the Sassanid era namely lost-wax casting and hammering on cold metal sheets using convex molds.

Designs used on the silver vessels of the Sassanid era indicate that they were used for formal receptions. The main design used on silver vessels of the Sassanid age was the picture of the king.

Like the reliefs of the Sassanid era, cups of this period were made to show off. Since these cups were made in royal workshops, they showcased the glory of the king. In the designs places on royal metals, the king always wears a crown and even on informal occasions such as hunting and private life, he is depicted as wearing a crown. Decorative designs on metals of the Sassanid era are categorized into four main groups namely silver plates, jars and bottles decorated with pictures of women, hemispheric bowls decorated with ordinary life events and vessels decorated with various animal and plant designs.

Islamic period

The art of Iranian metalworking continued during the Islamic period and turned into one of the most prominent and lasting arts of the Islamic world in the course of a couple of centuries. This traditional art not only followed the overall principles of the Islamic art, but also retained the spirit of Iranian art within itself that was based on Iranian designs and decorations.

Transformation and development of Iranian metalworking art from the advent of Islam to the invasion of Mongols are categorized into three periods as explained below.

The first period began in the early centuries of establishment of the Islamic government in Iran, that is, the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty and ran to the late 9th century. This period can be called the age of continuity and re-identification. During this period, the metalworking traditions, in terms of decoration styles and manufacturing techniques, follow methods used during the Sassanid era. One of the most important metalworking method used in this period is called Abbasid Method. The prominent feature of this method or style is using the same Sassanid decorations in minor and comparative techniques while some little modifications are practiced. These features are clearly visible in artifacts, metalwork and textiles made or woven in the 8th and 9th centuries.

The second period began in the late 9th century and ran to the late 11th century. Considering the decorative designs and materials and methods of manufacturing metals, this period can be called the age of deployment of the new style.  Prior to this age, the Abbasid dynasty was so powerful and had managed to deploy its rulers and governors across the country and control them as a centralized political power. However, it gradually declined during this period and was seriously challenged by local governments and newly-established dynasties such as the Buyid dynasty (932-1062 A.D.) and the Samanid dynasty. Consequently, the capital of the Abbasids, Baghdad, that functioned as the hub of arts and benefited from Iranian traditions due to its proximity to the capital of the Sassanid dynasty, Ctesiphon, lost its centrality and it was replaced with other cities as the hubs of arts since these cities were supported by new independent governments and their rulers. As a result, some new styles emerged that took their names from the names of different cities and regions. The noticeable characteristic of the second period was emergence of new regional styles and this period is identified as an intermediary stage connecting the first period to the third period which was the prosperity era for the metalworking art.

The third period ran from the 11th to the 13th centuries when Mongolians invaded Iran. For the most part of this period, the Seljuk dynasty ruled Iran (1038-1194 A.D.) and it was considered as the pinnacle of prosperity of the metalworking art in Iran. A specific style of metalworking called the Seljuk Method emerged during this period which was an independent and particular style of metalworking that was created under the support of Seljuk kings and rulers. Some distinctive features of this style of metalworking included the glory, size and strength of metalwork, making use of living animals as imitations from the nature, and embossed decorations and shapes.

Buyid dynasty

The Buyid era was one of the glorious periods of metalworking industry in Iran. Artists of this age not only ignored beliefs of the Abbasids about prohibition of making use of precious metals in their works, but also manufactured such wonderful works that competed with those of metalworkers of the Sassanid era in Iran.

One of the most important trends of metalworking during this period was ever-increasing popularity of Arabic inscriptions which were manifested on metal vessels decorated with prays or names and titles of owners of vessels in the Kufic script. Not only were animal and plant designs used in abstract forms on metal works, but also scripts decorated with leaves and flowers, appeared as inscriptions in the background of arabesques. Actually, one feature distinguishing artifacts of this period with those of the pre-Islamic era was these Arabesque designs. During the Buyid rule, great efforts were made to recreate styles used previously by artists using gold and silver in their works in the ancient Persia. As a result, some motifs and designs such as the life tree, peacock, wild goat, and creatures with two heads and two wings that were connected to Arabesque designs become popular.

Transformations in decorations and manufacturing metals were more slowly during the Buyid era than the Sassanid period. Artisans of the Buyid period strictly followed old methods and their works were so similar to those of the Sassanid era. These similarities were so high that if there were no Arabic writings on these works, it would become difficult to make a distinction between metal objects of these two periods.

Some noticeable features of the metalwork during the Buyid era included roughness of designs and poor delicacy of works. Compared to works of the Sassanid era, designs of the metalwork of this period were less embossed and toreutics and engraving were more highlighted. As a results, decorations were made on flatter and more linear fashion. Intricate and complex compositions of metal works of the past were replaced with simple designs. However, lots of designs, themes and details of clothes as well as forms of figurines were similar to those applied on Sassanid vessels.


Seljuk period

During the Seljuk era, metalworking gained great prosperity and development as metal works of this period enjoyed high quality and realized unique artistic goals. Realization of these goals was often manifested in the huge number of metal vessels particularly those produced in Khorasan. Some of these metal works bear dates and signatures of those involved in casting, decorating and making them.

Most metal works manufactured during the Seljuk ear in Islamic countries and Iran were made of brass and bronze. Products with higher volume of copper and more demonstration values drew the attention of artisans and artists such as those engaged with engraving and toreutics. Copper works of this period were meticulously and finely decorated with precious metals such as gold and silver. Most of these objects were not manufactured for daily lives of people, rather they were manufactured for the rich, rulers and royal families for formal settings and receptions.

Although the Seljuk metalwork owed a lot to Iranian artists, an independent style emerged in this period which was called Mosel Style. Numerous double-shelled vessels were manufactured based on this style that were among the best and the finest Islamic metalwork artifacts.

Main metals used during the Seljuk era were similar to those used in other post-Islamic era. Gold, silver, copper, iron, lead and tin were used a lot by metalworkers of the Mesopotamia prior to the advent of Islam. Metalworkers of the Islamic period added zinc to the metal industry. Prior to this period, zinc was mainly used as one element in alloys to be combined with copper to make brass but during the Islamic era zinc gained a lot of popularity and was brass objects were used extensively as brass was a good replacement for gold. During this period, metals were combined to form alloys and the most common alloy was brass. This popular alloy was used to make beautiful and delicate objects during the Islamic period but it was fragile and subject to rusting. Additionally, brass contributed to affliction of a very serious disease. Using acidic materials and liquids amplified the chance of affliction of this disease. Therefore, brass was not suitable for kitchen utensils and crockeries unless it was coated with a protection layer such as a thin layer of tin. Certain regions were skillful to produce metal vessels with high amount of tin. Tin-based alloys were more expensive than brass-based ones as the tin was imported from other territories and it was difficult to work with this compressed metal. Bronze was valuable metal as it shined like silver and it was rust-proof.

During the Islamic period (including the Seljuk period), iron was not used that much for manufacturing vessels but it was used for making weapons, ammunitions, locks, and frames of windows

Timurid era

With its designs and decorations, the metalworking of the Timurid era clearly reflected aesthetical and cultural concerns of that period. Metalworking of this period was not reactive nor independent of surrounding environment, rather it was part of a larger Timurid art network and method.

The prosperous age of metalwork after the invasion of the Mongolians in Iran began in the western parts of the country in the 13th century and was gradually extended to Fars and Khorasan. In the 14th century, the frames used in pre-Timurid era such as candlesticks, cups, goblets, pitchers, and chests) gained popularity once again. Decoration techniques for these works did not change but they became coarser and rougher. In this period, metalworkers decorated simple metal works with some curves in their bodies as well as writings in various Arabic scripts that were invented by calligraphers.

In the mid-fifteenth century, Iranian metalworkers abandoned previous styles particularly the Mongolian style that were monotonous and repetitive. They invented a new style in the metalworking art which was influenced by new religious beliefs, Shiites, and political developments inside the country. Metalworkers of this period managed to apply gold and silver decorations on various objects such as vessels and cold weapons made of copper, brass, bronze, iron and steel. This was particularly the case in Herat, the capital city of Khorasan.

Various metal objects were manufactured and used during the Timurid era. One of the particular vessels of this period was pitchers with a bulging body and a dragon-shaped handle. Bowls were another common metal vessel used during the Timurid era. Quality-wise, these bowls were different. They bore pretty scroll designs, motifs of natural flowers, religious inscriptions, and round orange patterns. Most of the bowls were coarse in their textures and were not excellent as they were made by mediocre craftsmen. One should take into account that the tumultuous political situation of the second half of the 15th century A.D. disrupted production of metal works.

Another metal object of this period was the candlesticks with high round bases whose stems were short and thick and were designed and made very skillfully. The sockets of these candlesticks were heavy and large that were made in simple designs and decorated with silver and gold patterns

Safavid era

The metalwork of the Safavid era was a continuation of methods and techniques of previous periods particularly the Timurid era. The metalwork of the Safavid era emerged with a new identity and application of new materials such as steel. It incorporated other factors such as Shiites beliefs, mysticism, Sufism and national identity. Undoubtedly, the metalwork of this period enjoyed prominent features such as excessive use of steel and its alloys as well as production of valuable and beautiful weapons that were matchless at that time.

Introduction of new visions in this age led to noticeable transformations in manufacturing, forms and applications of metal works. Traditional expertise of experts in designing and engraving reemerged and rough techniques were replaced with the delicate and elegant eye-catching methods and techniques. The Arabic script and language were replaced with the Persian ones. Much more freedom was granted for depicted humans, animals, flowers and trees on metal works. Arabesques became limited and other techniques were given more maneuverability.

During the Safavid era, the metalworking industry developed extensively when lots of gold, silver, brass and copper products were manufactured. Application of the decorative art on brass objects that had declined during the rule of Mongolians and Timurids was revived once again during the Safavid era. Copper vessels were whitened to look like silver. Iron and steel were used for manufacturing objects. Decorations of this period indicated changes in interests and tastes. Beauty and delicacy replaced roughness and coarseness in the period. Additionally, some new arts such as calligraphy and toreutics were utilized in the metalworking which increased the aesthetical aspect of these objects in terms of their decorative functions. Toreutics and calligraphy were mixed with the metalworking at this age. The mixture of decorative and practical arts resulted in creation of everlasting metal artefacts in this period.

One of the advantages of metal works of the Safavid era is the delicacy in shapes and scripts written in Persian whose themes are Persian poems, historical events, and names of Shiite saints. Metalworking craftsmen and artisans of the Safavid era directed this art to its pinnacles. One of the prominent works of this period is brass cylinder-shaped candlesticks whose decorations are embossed or engraved.

Designs on vessels of the Safavid era are mainly flowers, plants and Arabesques. Occasionally, pictures of men and pictographs are seen on these objects, too. Most of designs and decorative shapes used in metal works of this period were leaves and branches of plants as well as human and animal pictures. These designs reminded designs of carpets and pictures of manuscripts of this period. Appling decorations declined in this era and surfaces of metal works were covered by interconnected designs. Arches were added to these metal works. Additionally, some spaces were left blank or void of any decorations in these metal works. Occasionally, names of craftsmen were incorporated on these metal works.