Samaneh Mohammadzadeh – Having a known Moaraq studio in one of Tehran’s cultural institutions , Saeid Pouzesh is a professional marqueter with 31 years of experience. He says his father and grandfather had the same vocation but the reason which made him continue this art was his own passion for Moaraq and creating artworks with wood.
Wooden Moaraq or Marquetry is an ancient technique of carving and inlaying wood that has been perfected in the Iran and Lebanon. It involves cutting different veneer of wood in to various shapes and then gluing the pieces on a flat surface that at the end create a piece of art that will last forever. Different kind of Hammers, Saws, Nails and carving machine are found in each corner of the studio. In another corner there is a big shelves full of veneers in various colors, from the dark shades of red to light greens, each labelled by name of trees. Kinds of wood with their various colors and quality play a great role in making this type of art an extraordinary piece of work. Besides the color, durability and dryness of veneers should be considered.
The history of Moaraq in Iran dates back to the Sasanid Era. In this period embroiled wooden squares were used in construction of the buildings. Various designs and images such as flowers or human beings were being carved on the square boards. After Islam entered Iran the designs were mixed with geometric, parallel shapes. Holy names of God or Imam names could be found on old Islamic Moaraq artworks to signify special prestigious and ritual importance.
Monabat that is similar in technique to Moaraq is the art of putting pieces of veneer together in a more simple and geometric shapes. In some of Pouzesh’s works Monabat, Moaraq and sculpturing are joined together to create a fascinating piece of art. Some of Pouzesh’s works are so breathtaking and real that one might think the shapes and figures have been painted.
In Iran most of Moaraq works are inspired through Persian or Arabic calligraphy and miniature. The details of miniature are applied spellbindingly by small veneers and in thiny shapes. Saeid Pouzesh talks about his non-Iranian customers which are normally from Persian gulf countries. He believes just a few of the decorative pieces makes the design distinguished from the other type of art that’s why Moaraq signifies special prestigious importance for his non-Iranian customers.
In his small studio in Tehran, Pouzesh creates these magnificent artworks and beside that he shares his experience with the talented students, such as Mr Darabi. Mr Darabi is a middle-aged apprentice and has been trained by Pouzesh for 3 years. He is the silent guy and barely talks. He prefers to busy himself with carving a design which is similar to a fish. His soul might have changed to one of these wonderful Moaraq works, finely curved and polished and now with quiet serenity!