The Village of Kalpuregan is located in the South East region of Iran. Kalpuregan is home to some of the world’s oldest indigenous pottery. Dating all the way back to the creation of civilization the pottery is created by Baluchi Women. The practice dates back to around six thousand years ago.
The art of pottery in the village of Kalpuregan has been kept only for women.
Men only own the responsibility of preparing firm clay whereas the women have for task to pay attention to the delicate aspects of the craft. Today the village of Kalpuregan hosts pottery workshops to transmit their techniques and practices. Another aspect peculiar to the pottery in Kalpuregan is that women do not use pottery wheels to make their creation.
Their beautiful work is possible simply by mixing innovative and traditional methods.
The pottery of the village is transmitted from mother to daughter or through a clan of women. The painting of symbols remains highly traditional as well as transmitted from one generation to the other and is a representation of the artisan’s or artist’s beliefs, spiritual involvement and their engagement with their surroundings.
Those abstract details serve as symbols, those same symbols that were being used in early prehistoric pottery. The indigenous artists of the village believe in preserving tradition.
By painting abstract geometry pattern on the pottery piece in order to honor their ancestor’s methods
In order to start the preparation, the artisan collects the soil from ‘Mashkootan” a clay mine 2 to 3 km away from the area. The soil if sifted by men in order to remove the impurities and prepare the clay. They then shed it into two pool of water and stir it up until only particles remain floating into the water.
The paste resulting from the process is then filtered and brought to the second pool.
The paste is kept for two days to give time for the water to evaporate. The following processes involve kneading, shaping, drying and firing the clay. The clay is initially a grayish with light green undertones which is then baked into kiln oven. The preparation of the clay is done my men, while the more meticulous and precise work such as shaping it is done by the women artist of Kalpuregan.
In order to remain completely natural, the artisans use a dye to paint the pottery. The dye is obtained from a local stone called “Teytook” a soluble in water.
The artist uses a small stick made from palm tree wood to paint the symbols on the pottery. The clay is finally dried under the sun for 10 days.
The pottery is a sustainable work of art as it is 100 % transmitted from one generation to the other in order to keep the tradition while inserting the innovation.
The Pottery is inspired by nature. The pattern used to embellish plates is called “ Chat. ”.
In Baluch dialect Chat means palm tree branch, so this plate shows a close connection between the palm tree and Baloch people. The palm tree is also a symbol of the sun.
At the center of this plate is a rhinoplasty pattern that looks like a swastika which is the symbol of sun, fire and immortality in Persian culture.