Persian Kalamkari or Ghalamkar (Persian: پارچه قلمکاری) is one of the ancient Iranian handicrafts that has been at the peak of its fame for centuries. The art of painting on cloth became common in Iran from the fourth and fifth centuries AH, and since the time of Mahmoud Ghaznavi, we have received fabrics that have been painted on. This art spread during the Safavid period. In fact, it can be said that the prosperous period of this industry started from the Safavid era and ended in the middle of the Qajar era.
During the Safavid period, most men’s and women’s clothes were made of Ghalamkar cloths, and these fabrics were very popular at that time. A type of Ghalamkar with its own design and role called Dalge was prepared for men’s and women’s clothing.
The persistent efforts of the craftsmen and the reception they received increased the demand for such patterned fabrics, and because supply was limited, they forced craftsmen to think of solutions to find more supply with the same artistic quality. In this case, the only solution was to create the desired patterns on the mold and transfer the molds to the fabric.
mold creation is one of the delicate, very important and old arts of Isfahan that only a few masters of this art are left. Old craftsmen have identified the best wood for cutting molds, pear and hawthorn woods, which usually use hawthorn wood for small molds. The larger the patterns in a mold, the easier it is to cut, and the finer the patterns, the more difficult it becomes.
The city of Isfahan, which was the center and capital of Iran during the Safavid period, became one of the main centers for artists and artisans, and artists from all over Iran came to this city and tried to produce and supply various products, including Ghalamkar with the highest artistic quality. At present, Isfahan is the center of Iranian Ghalamkar production.