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Tile Making

Handicrafts » Introduction of disciplines

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Published On : thursday 30 November 1393

The term Tile making refers to the art of making glazed mudbricks coated with a layer of colorful patterns. Tiles are commonly used for covering any surface including floors, walls etc. In addition to their decorative role, tiles function as moisture barriers. The word 'kashi', tile in English, derives from the name of the city of Kashan, which has been widely known as the center of tile making and pottery crafts since the early Islamic period. The long history of tiles began following the advances made in the brick making craft. It is not yet clear when colored tiles were first used in buildings; however, the examples found in Elam belonging to the 2nd millennium BC are among the earliest discoveries. Other similar examples of using colored tiles could be found in the Iranian plateau, specifically in buildings in Persepolis and Susa. Tilework began to revive in the Abbasid Caliphs period. According to Professor Pope, glazed tiles were first used in the dome of the Grand Mosque of Qazvin, Iran in the 12th century AD and within a fairly short run afterward, tileworks gained popularity and almost every building constructed in the following generations was decorated with tiles. Early tiles had a geometric shape and were coated with a single-colored glaze. This trend continued developing until the late 12th century when patterned tiles were introduced. There are two main types of tilework, mosaic and multicolor. Other types include zarrinfam (gold-effect tiles), moaghali (script tiles) etc which are rare. Mosaic tilework is one the earliest and yet the most beautiful methods of tiling in buildings. To make mosaic tiles, the raw clay is first baked and hardened at high temperature and then the glaze, which is a glass wear layer which is usually colored, is applied to the surface of the tiles. The glazed tiles are heated again in the furnace. After that, the desired design is drawn on paper and stuck on the surface of the tile. Afterward the tile is trimmed with a hammer to remove the extra parts and reach the final shape. Afterward, with respect to their design and color, the well-shaped pieces are tightly fitted together, leaving little space between them. Then, to prepare the ultimate design which is ready to install, the pieces are placed face down on the ground and attached to each other using a metal mesh and plaster slurry. The painstaking difficulty of making mosaic tiles prepared the grounds for the introduction of multicolor tiles. These tiles provided the possibility of tiling an entire building with colorful ornate tiles in a relatively shorter time. To prepare multicolor tiles, the raw tiles are put next to each other, with respect to the size of the ultimate design, and then the desired patterns, including mihrabs, vases, flowers, geometric shapes, birds and animals,  are drawn on them using leather and coal dust. Finally, after coloring all the tiles, their surface is coated with a white glaze which becomes transparent after baking. Unlike the past, today the patterns are printed on white ceramic, which is both technically and aesthetically far different than the traditional tile making process.


By : All Rights Reserved By Kashan

Source : All Rights Reserved By Kashan CHT