National Museum of Iran (Tehran): Best of Attractions in Tehran

attractions in Tehran

National Museum of Iran (Tehran): Best of Attractions in Tehran

Are you interested in experiencing the accumulation of 5000-year old civilization in an hour or two? accompany us in this Iran Cultural tour and let us visit National Museum of Iran in Tehran. This sight is among best of attractions in Tehran.

An Amazing Culture Tour in Tehran, Iran

National Museum of Iran

Imam Khomeini Ave. 30 Tir St. Tehran, Iran

+98 (0)21 66702052-6

 Fax: +98 (0)21 66702648

1.0. Box: 11365/4364

Opening hours

 Spring and Summer: Daily 09:00-19:00

Fall and winter: Daily 09:00-18:00

Closed Some of the Mourning days


Attractions in Tehran Iran

A Walk through National Museum, Among Best of Attractions in Tehran.

In this article we will walk you throughout National Museum of Iran in Tehran in order to fulfill a marvelous Iran cultural tour. The octagonal plan the Islamic Museum is inspired by the Sassanid palace at Bishapur and covers some 4000 square meters with three floors as a state Museum and a part of National Museum of Iran belong to Iranian Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization. The building was renovated and reopened in 1996. In the summer of 2006 another restoration and reconstruction phase began and the new museum was reopened in 2015. The ground floor was allotted for the auditorium and the temporary exhibition hall. The Islamic artifacts are exhibited chronologically in first and second floors.

attractions in Tehran

The 2nd Floor of National Museum of Iran, Tehran

The second floor contains the early Islamic, Saljuq and Ilkhanid periods and the first floor houses the holy Quran halt, and artifacts of the Timurid, Safavid, Afshar, Zand and Qajar periods. A large number of objects in these exhibition halls come from scientific excavations and famous collections such as those from Sheikh Saffi Al-Din Ardebili.

If you want to add artistic flavor to your Iran Cultural Tour, never miss this museum. The early Islamic artifacts show remarkable influenced by the Sassanian art, which makes it difficult to distinguish the early Islamic style from that of the Sasanian. During the late 8th and early 9th A. D., artists utilized the Kufic inscriptions of the Quran as the first decorative element of the Islamic art. This period was contemporary with the formation of the Iranian dynasties such as the Taherid, the Buyid, the Samanid, and the Ghaznavid, among which the art of the Buyid was superior. The copies of the Quran of this period were written with the Kufic inscriptions on Parchment with gilded decorations.

Attractions in Tehran

Early Islamic Period and Its Remaining Arts

In early Islamic times Nishabur, Rey, Gorgan, Susa and Siraf became trade centers for different artistic and utilitarian crafts such as pottery, glass work and extile. In architecture, most of the early Islamic period buildings were decorated by stucco working technique and fresco. Sabz Pushan palace in Nishabur and Rey Arg, near Tehran are two such examples. The art of pottery making reached its zenith. Molded decorated pottery, glazed and plain as well as painted deco-rations covered with trans-parent glaze, splash and lustre wares are among the achievements of the early Islamic potters. In this period, the Persian Gulf port of Siraf port was one of the most important centers for glass work, and Nishabur became a main trade center in northeast of Iran.

The glass artifacts of this city were imported to faraway cities such as Gorgan and Rey. The metal work of this period followed the former Sassanian style in Tab-arestan and Rey. In the year 640 A. D. a type of silver coins (Arab-Sassanid) was produced, on which the face of the Sassanian king was accompanied by Kufic inscriptions of “Besmellah” and “Besmell-ah-e Rabbi” that is, “in the name of God” and “in the name of God, our Lord.” On the obverse of such coins the name of Sassanian king with Pahlavi inscriptions was retained. A few decades later, coins were minted without the face of Sasanian kings. During the year 696 A.D. the Dinar gold coins were minted on which the Tohid sura was written on one side. From the year 698 A.D. production of the Arab-Sassanid coin was abandoned. In this hall the visitor can see types of the early Islamic coins with the name of rulers, kings and places are shown.

Ray and Nishabur and Sassanid Empire Art

Rey and Nishabur were two important cities for textile industry. Rey was well known because of its silk and double-wefted fabrics, while Susa and Shushtar became famous for their “Taraz” textiles. The oldest textile in this hall is a piece of double face silk cloth that was discovered from the Rey excavations; this fabric was decorated with Sassanid motifs along-side the Kufic inscriptions.

Seljuq dynasty and Art

The beginning of the Seljuq dynasty on the 11th century A.D. ushered a new period in the social and political arenas in Iran. The Seljuq converted to Islam and began a magnificent period in art and architecture. Drawing of the art and craft tradition they inherited, the Seljuqs developed new styles in art and architecture. Pottery and glass ware industries flourished in Gorgan, Rey and Kashan, with Rey as one of the well-known art centers of this period.

Utilizing the frit (glass paste) in pottery industry was one of the most important techniques, which was used in numerous fine vessels with milky color glaze.

The Minaii ware or over glazed painted decoration with different motifs developed. Most of the motifs had been inspired by Persian stories and were influenced by the Seljuq School of painting. Metal objects inlaid with gold and silver as well as fenestrated objects and vessels were manufactured in Khorasan, Hamedan and Azerbaijan workshops. Furthermore, astronomical instruments such as astrolabes and brass globes were exquisitely made. Very exquisite inlaid and gilded Qurans with the innovative Iranian Kufic inscription were produced.

The oldest example in this hall, the Dastur-ol Loghat (Al-Kha-las), dates to 1161 A.D. The specific coloring method of Seljuq’s textiles, especially silk textiles, known as “tone and half tone”, is noteworthy. In this method the wefts of rugs were rendered in low relief and brilliant in colors. Brickworks and stucco working were two common decorations in the Saljuq architectures.

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The art of the Ilkhanid period

The art of the Ilkhanid period illustrates a deep influence of the Persian on the non-Iranian cultures. The Mongol invasion in the early 13th A.D. caused a setback in art; however, beginning with the rule of Qazan Khan, a development in the social and economic spheres, the artistic productions were increased. With the Mongol invasion, most of the industrial art centers were damaged or lost their importance, resulting in the relocation of artists moved to northern Mesopotamian cities. In addition, the art metallurgy, which was formed in eastern Iran, developed in the western regions and the Iranian style in metallurgy was expanded in some cities such as Mosul.

Bronze objects inlaid with gold and silver decorations were prevalent. The motifs consisted of royal scenes accompanied with Kufic and Naskh inscriptions. In addition to the Minaii ware, the most beautiful luster glaze wares were produced in Kashan, Rey and Soltan Abad. The motifs on the vessels show humans with Mongol faces and geometric decorations accompanied with Persian poems. A limited number of the Seljuq styles such as the gilded lustre glaze painted and Minaii wares and glass objects were also produced in this period. Furthermore, a type of reticulated double shelled vessel was also produced during the Ilkhanid period.

Coincided with Khajeh Rashid-al Din, the Persian minster of the Mongol dynasty of Ilkhanids, the art of book-binding was developed and a number of exquisite decorated books were created. Calligraphers such as Ahmad Sohrevardi, Yaghut Mosta’semi and Arghon i Kameli played an important role in the development of calligraphy. One of the magnificent books on geography, writ-ten by Abu Eshaq Ebrahim ben Mohammad Farsi Estakhri (alias Karkhi), was Masalek-al Mamalek. Abolmahasen Mohammad Ibn-i Nakhjavani (alias Ibn-i Sa-voji) rewrote the book in 1347 A.D. This book was registered in 2008 as a word heritage.

During the Ilkhanid period, under the Islamic inspirations and influence, a number of beautiful Mihrabs (prayer niches) were constructed, these architec-tural elements were decorated with stucco working and tiles. The most elegant example, dated to 1329 A.D. was found in the Oshtorjan Jame mosque in Isfahan.

Moreover, the most beautiful luster glaze painted tiles were used in the construction of the “Gate of Paradise” Mihrab, created by Yusef ben Ali Ibn-e Moham-mad Ibn-e Abi Taher.

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Kashan was one of the most important centers where luster glaze painted tiles were produced during the 12 to 13 A.D. centuries. The Abi Taher clan was one of the families who were engaged in the production of such tiles. In this period, the lustre glaze monochrome painted tiles were also used in the decoration of buildings. Beside Kashan, this such tiles were also found in Takht-e Soleiman and Gorgan.

The First Floor in Iran National Museum

With the formation of the Timurid Dynasty in the late 14th and early 15th A.. its capital city Samarqand became a major center for art and architecture. Timur invited most of the contemporary glassblowers to Samarqand; thus Samargand became the glass art center of the period. Timur’s sons, Shahrokh, Ologh Beyk and Baysonghor Mirza encouraged different industries and arts, especially bookbinding. The apex of these arts were calligraphy, illuminating, bookbinding and paper industry.

Achievements of the Timurid period

One of the most important achievements of the Timurid period was emergence of the Herat School in painting. During this period, Herat, Tabriz, Kashan and Kerman were the most important centers for textile and carpet industries. At the end of the Ilkhanid period and the following early Timurid period, the art of tile making reached its most sophisticated stage by the development of the “Moarraq” technique. In this technique, artists used white, dark blue, yellow, turquoise and green colors. The technique of Moarraq flourished during the 15th century A.D. in Mashhad and Esfahan. Under glazed painting, monochrome and blue and white potteries with different Iranian and Chinese motives were also common.

The center of art and architecture was relocated from Herat to Tabriz and then to Qazvin and finally to Isfahan with the rise of the Safavids in the 16th century A.D. During this period, in addition to academic and literary texts with beautiful caligraphies and the Herat and Isfahan schools of paintings, very exquisite Qurans were written in the Naskh and Solth styles of caligraphy with gilding decorations were produced. Calligraphers such as Emad Al- Hasani (Mir Emad) and Alireza Abbasi created wonderful works of art. One of the most beautiful Nastaliq cal-lieraphies was the Quranic Hamd o sura by Mir Emad.

The beginning of the oil painting

The beginning of the oil painting was contemporaneous with the end of Miniature paintings in this period. Exquisite pen cases and mirror frames were produced. The Isfahan school of painting developed, which was an Iranian school and was different from the Timurid schools.

Calligraphy in Safavid Period

During the Safavid period calligraphy either directly written (calico/ghalamkar) on or woven into textiles developed. In this hall a piece of textile with Quran verses is shown, in which the sentences are written in the Kufic, Solth, Ghobar and Naskh script and is decorated with lapis lazuli, vermilion, gold and saffron. This textile was created by Yusof Ai-Ghobari by the order of the king Shah Tahmasb as a votive of Abolfath Mirza Shah Es-maiel Safavi in order to present it to the shrine of Sheikh Saffi Al-Din Arde-bib, his ancestor tomb. Another example is related to calligraphy on textile, the famous Shirt of Ayat Al-Korsi (victory of garment), also known as “Nad-e Ali” Shirt. This shirt had phylactery function and was used in the case of sickness, problems and even in wars under armors to protect its owner from dangers.

Carpet weaving industry and art decorated with images of flowerpots, garden scenes, inscriptions, Mihrab (prayer niche) as well as bergamot motifs reached their zenith. Carpets made of silk, metal tread and wool were also made and developed.

In addition, a number of beautiful metal repousse and fenestrated works were created in the workshops of western Iran and Isfahan. Furthermore, the industry of blue and white pottery was common in Kerman, Mashhad and Yazd.

Shah Abbas was interested in the blue and white porcelain and started to collect exquisite examples. He endowed all these vessels to his ancestor’s shrine, Sheikh Saffi Al-Din Ardebili. Most of the vessels exhibited in this hall bear the Shah Abbas’s endowment seal.

Glass Working Art During the Ilkhanid and Timurid periods

During the Ilkhanid and Timurid periods the glass working art was forgotten in most of the cities in Iran. When Shah Abbas was presented with Venice glasses, he invited the glassblower masters to Iran to recreate this art and industry in Shiraz and Isfahan. Also presented in this hall are a number of beautiful Moarraq tiles, which were different from the former Timurid types, were produced. The “Haft Rang Tile” or seven colors tile was characteristic in this period. Generally, a number of different colors were utilized to paint this type of tile.

Arts During Qajar Period

Although the Qajar period artifacts do not show the high level of elegance of their Safavid predecessors. Nevertheless, Shiraz, in a limited way, played a similar role to Isfahan during the rule of Karim Khan Zand, who built a number public, citadels, and religious buildings in Shiraz.

Some of arts such as carpet weaving industry developed noticeably. The workshops in Kerman, Kashan, Arak, Isfahan produced beautiful carpets. In Isfahan velvet weaving and cashmere art in Kerman and Qalamkari Qalamkar (Calico) were common.

The short inter-episodes of political events during the Afshar and Zand dynasties had profound impact on formation of the Qajar period. The Afshar and Zand art styles had deep relationship to their former cultures on the one hand, and were influenced by social and political situations of their era, on the other.

In the 18th and 19th centuries some arts such as inlay and mirror-work on wood as well as gilded iron and Minakari (enamel working and decorating metals with colorful and baked coats) were produced. During the Qajar period metallurgy, especially steel working and weapon technology also developed. The Safavid art of “seven-color” glazed tiles continued into this period as well.

Historical themes, portraits of kings and princes and natural scenes were the main subjects of paining, but he style was heavily influenced by the contemporary European style. Such subjects also appeared on pen holders, mirror frames and murals. In the style of painting known as Qahveh Khaneh (Coffee shop style), epic scenes from the Shahnameh, particularly those of the battle of Rustam and Sohrab, were common, and became a separate artistic genre. The art of calligraphy further developed by the invention of the cursire Nastaliq script. The appearance of stone press resulted in the production of illustrated books.

Islamic culture, Quran and Art

In the Islamic culture, Quran is considered as the main base of different activities of thebelievers. For this reason, the space under the central dome of the Islamic muse-um’s s first floor is allocated to the Quran. In this hall, some copies belong to the early Islamic period and were written on parchment. One of the most interesting Qurans has Ali-lbnei Abitaleb’s signature. The Qurans in this hall are written in Kufic, Naskh, Reyhan, Mohaghegh, Soith and Ghobar script. In the center of this hall, a large page of the Quran, written by Baysonghor Mirza, is shown. This Quart was brought by Nader Shah from Herat to Ghuchan. It is assumed that he carried the Quran in front of his army for protection. Unfortunately, some of the pages of this Quran were burnt in his wars and other pages are scattered in various museums.

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