Vibrant Qajar Colours

The Evolution of Seven Colour Tiles

Author: Kianoosh Motaghedi/ Translated by: Setareh Behroozi/ Photo by: Kianoosh Motaghedi

Due to its geographic location and ancient history, Iran has hosted different peoples and various visual cultures and artistic motifs during different historical eras. Looking at the long history and the vast range of architectural styles in Iran during the Islamic era, one can clearly see that the ancient arts of Persia, especially ancient architecture, changed dramatically after the Muslim conquest of Iran in 651 CE. Inspired by the new religion, Islam, the architecture and related art underwent a dynamic change. 

Tiles are considered one of the most unique and distinctive decorative elements in Iranian architecture and they have been used for centuries in Iranian buildings. The monochrome glazed and moulded relief bricks discovered in Susa that date back to the Achaemenid era (550–330 BCE) are just one piece of evidence for the long history of the use of this decorative art in Iran. At the beginning of the Islamic period, buildings were still being constructed and decorated in the style of Sassanid (224–651 CE) architecture, the last Persian Empire before the rise of Islam. Even until the 4th century AH (913 –1009 CE), many of the glazed tiles and plasterworks were designed and constructed in the same style.

In the meantime, no one can deny the role of Persian art in the delightful architecture that was constructed during this period. In each era, without exception, Iranian artists used tiles as a material to manifest their art. Tile making is considered by many a secret ingredient that enlivens buildings and public spaces with a bright spirit that attracts the eye and the heart, even centuries later.

The oldest glazed brick found in Iran dates to the 4th century AH and was discovered in Jurjan city…

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