Khatam Kari Inlay Box, Khatam Kari Pen Box, Khatam Kari Inlay Frame

20th Century, Isfahan, Iran, Wood, Brass, Animal bones; 20th Century, Isfahan, Iran, Wood, Brass, Animal bones; 20th Century, Isfahan, Iran, Wood, Brass, Animal bones, Water color

本次文物開窗的展品是三件來自伊朗的精彩手工藝術品。它們分別是鑲嵌置物盒、鑲嵌筆盒和鑲嵌畫框。三件鑲嵌器物製作於伊朗重要的文化之城伊斯法罕(Isfahan),呈現出的是代表性的Khatam kari(金屬鑲嵌)技藝。

This exhibition features three wonderful handmade works of art from Iran. They are inlay boxes and a frame. The three objects were made in contemporary Isfahan, an important cultural and historical city in central Iran, and the objects represent the iconic technique of Khatam kari.

金屬鑲嵌技術(Khatam kari)的歷史
History of Khatam Kari

雖然本館展示的兩件作品均為現代製品,但是這種工藝傳統的成熟期可以追溯至十六世紀的薩法維王朝(Safavid dynasty)。當時的宮廷和精英階層對於奢侈藝術生產有濃厚興趣,並且十分熱情地贊助工藝生產,讓都城所在的伊斯法罕成為了金屬鑲嵌技藝的中心。

Although the two artifacts on display are contemporary production, the technique of Khatam kari can be traced back to the Safavid dynasty in the 16th century. The royal court and social elites of Safavid dynasty were keenly interested in the production of luxury art and were enthusiastic patrons of the craft, this richly patronage made Isfahan, where the Safavid court was located, a center for luxury goods production including this metal inlay techniques.

City of Isfahan was the capital of the Safavid Empire in the 16th century

Materials for Khatam Kari

在Khatam kari技藝的製作過程中會使用到各種原料。主要的木材是各種顏色的木材,例如核桃木、松木、柚木、烏木等。骨材包括各種類型的動物骨,例如象牙、駱駝骨。金屬絲線的材料來自黃銅、鋁,以及有時候會用到的銀絲。

A variety of materials are used in the Khatam process. The main woods used are various colored woods, such as walnut, pine, teak and ebony etc. Bone materials include various types of animal bone, such as ivory and camel bone. Metal wire is made from brass, aluminum and sometimes silver wire.

How to Make Khatam Kari?



This craft consists in the production of incrustation patterns (generally star-shaped), with thin sticks of wood (ebony, teak, ziziphus, orange, rose), brass (for golden parts), camel bones (white parts). Ivory, gold or silver can also be used for collection objects. These sticks are assembled in triangular beams, assembled and glued in a strict order to create a geometrical motif such as a six-branch star included in a hexagon.

At times, cylinders are cut into shorter cylinders and then compressed and dried between two wooden plates, before being sliced for the last time, in 1 mm wide trenches. These sections are ready to be plated and glued on the object to be decorated, before lacquer finishing.

The tranche can also be softened by heating in order to wrap around objects. Many objects can be decorated in this fashion, including Qur’an boxes, jewelry boxes, chessboards, furniture parts, frames or musical instruments.

用於製作Khatam kari的不同顏色的細木條和骨片
Wood and bone rods as materials for khatam kari
Source: TAP Persia
The pattern combination with wood rods, metal and bones
Source: TAP Persia
十五世紀帖木兒王朝赫拉特(Herat)的繪畫大師貝赫扎德(Bihzad)完成的一幅「優素福和祖萊哈」插圖中,畫面上的先知優素福(ﷺ,身著綠衣者)身後的門就表現了Khatam kari鑲嵌工藝。
In the illustration of Yusuf and Zuleikha by the 15th century master artist Kamaludin Bihzad from Heart, the doors with khatam kari decoration can be seen behind the Prophet Yusuf (ﷺ , the male figure in green).

Inlaid Pen Box

在伊斯蘭世界的物質文化傳統中,和書法相關的物品是受到書法家珍視的書寫工具,也是重要的文房器物和藝術品。本館七樓的世界宗教展示大廳中就有伊斯蘭世界傳統的筆盒及蘆管筆的藏品。在本展間中,這個漂亮的筆盒也是以Khatam kari裝飾技藝製作出來的。

有意思的是,熟悉十五世紀中國瓷器的朋友也許很容易就能發現這種筆盒的器形和中國燒造的一種外銷青花瓷的相似性。曾在菲律賓海域發現的利納沉船(Lena shoal shipwreck)中就曾發現有很多這種筆盒,它們都是中國陶瓷工匠模仿伊斯蘭世界的筆盒外型,以青花瓷、廣彩瓷的形式出現,是面向伊斯蘭世界市場的外銷瓷器。

In the material and cultural traditions of the Islamic world, objects associated with calligraphy were prized by calligraphers as instruments of writing, as well as important scholarly objects and works of art. Our main gallery on the seventh floor contains a collection of traditional pen boxes. In this exhibition room, this beautiful pen box is also made with the Khatam kari decorative technique.

Interestingly, for those in the audience who are familiar with Chinese porcelain, they might easily recognize the similarity between the form of this pen box and a type of exported blue and white porcelain produced in Ming to early Qing China. Many of these boxes were found in the Lena Shoal shipwreck, which was discovered in the waters of the Philippines, and can be seen in multiple art collections around the world. The shape of these pen boxes was an imitation of the shape of pen boxes in the Islamic world and was aimed at the Islamic market.

Blue-and-White porcelain pen box, Ming dynasty China, British Museum
Cantonese porcelain pen box made in Qing dynasty China
Ivory pen box with inlays, Mughal dynasty, 17th century
Timurid brass pen box, 15th century