عنوان مقاله [English]
The people of Iran have always paid great attention to fine arts, architecture and beautification of buildings. Throughout the ages, Iranian architects have used many techniques to beautify both the interior and exterior of buildings, using locally-available building materials. The result of this endeavor has produced masterpieces of Iranian architecture. When you look at the ancient buildings of Iranian architecture you can see a different type of decoration in the inner and outer part of the places. Of course theses decoration should not only been considered as a decorative arts but they have some functional important aspects that even made them necessary for buildings. Mirror work is one of the arts used extensively to usually decorate the interior part of a building using small or large pieces of mirror. Various studies have been conducted on the mirror work until now. While studying the history of the mirror work and its evolution trend from the Safavid Era to the contemporary era, Semsar (Semsar 1963 and Semsar 1997) attributes the oldest evidence of using mirrors in the buildings to about mid-16th century and the Safavid Era. According to this study, the most common motifs in the mirror work are “Geometric designs”. In another article, Mishmast Nehi and Esfahani (2007, 43-52) examined the word “mirror” in the history of Iranian literature and pointed out to the evolution of mirror work and its gradual changes from the European composition to the purely Iranian composition (i.e. combination of mirror work and Geometric designs). Also in this study, mirror work techniques from the Safavid Era to the contemporary period have been studied. According to the mentioned studies, it can be acknowledged that in most cases, the evolution of this art and its motifs and techniques have been studied. Although some studies have been conducted on the history and decorative aspects of the mirror work, little attention has been paid to the functional aspects of this art, particularly in the residential houses until now.
Keywords: City of Yazd, Mirror Work, Residential Architecture, Qajar Period.
It seems that mirror work, like other Iranian architectural inventions, created by Iranian architectures in Safavid Era and reached its climax at Qajar period in constructing some halls like Mirror hall of Golestan Palace and especially in constructing religious and holy monuments. Also it should be noted that there is some evidence of using mirror in building before Safavid era, like the use of mirror in the tile work of Sultan compelex of Bondarabad that probably back to the Timurid Era. It seems that this art in addition to some decorative, aspects has some functional aspects as well. If we want to say something about the decorative aspects of this art, It results in myriad reflections of light through these pieces of mirror, which produce a dazzling display of sparkling light. This kind of deliberate decorations, lead to a bright and highly shining atmosphere created upon consecutive reflections of light in numerous mirror pieces. This art made the spaces of the buildings so nice that had impressive effect on the spirit of the settlers. The mirror reflects the sky, water and every color and is a symbol of light and life. Mirror work artists used a variety of designs and motifs in the mirroring decorations of the Qajar houses in Yazd, including geometric, plant, animal and inscription motifs. For example, although animal motif, is rooted in Islamic culture, but also influenced the culture of other nations like India, because most owners of the homes are Yazdi merchants and had extensive business connections with other regions, particularly India.
Because of the development of this art in the Qajar Era, we can see the use of this art in different buildings like historical houses. Historical texture of Yazd City is one of the most renowned in Iran and the world. In the course of its historical genesis, this city has witnessed specific cultural, political, and economic conditions. One of the most important historical periods of Yazd’s texture dates back to the Qajar Era, when the merchants played a considerable role for their positions. Yazd City in the Qajar Era enjoyed so much economic prosperity that we cannot find any similar example in any other historical era of this city. Although the factors such as the development of the world trade and the strategic and commercial situation of Iran caused the entrance of the cities like Yazd into the domain of the world trade and set the scene for the
prosperity of it, the extensive presence of the Zoroastrians there and their relationship with Parsis has been the chief reason for the economic prosperity of this city in the Qajar Era. There is no doubt that the promotion of the merchants ‘social status in Yazd during Qajar Era can be considered as one of the main results of the commercial thriving of Yazd in that time; in other words, the status that belonged to the class of Khans in the social organization of Iran during Qajar Era was transferred to the merchants for their vivid role in the economic prosperity of Yazd. There were a lot of merchants with aristocratic houses in the Qajar era that had mirror work decoration in the interior parts of some rooms. This study tried to investigate the history and different aspects of this art in the historical houses of Yazd city and so these questions have been raised: 1. Which techniques of mirror work are used in Qajarid houses and which motifs are included? 2. How is the spatial distribution of mirror rooms and what are the functional and social aspects of this art?
Before starting to decorated with mirrors, a designer first designed on paper--then he transferred these designs onto walls, ceilings and columns using special needles. After that, pieces of mirror are glued, one by one, onto the surface of walls, ceilings, etc. According to the Results mirror work has been used in three ways: mirror work on the plaster, stucco on the mirrors and paintings on mirrors and motifs are included plant, geometric, animal and inscription motifs. According to the obtained results from twelve houses, it was concluded that most of the houses, the mirror room was in the winter sections (north and west), indicating the high importance of this space and its important role in the cold seasons such as winter and partly autumn; because, for the relative cloudiness of the sky and the air in the seasons like winter and autumn and the role of mirrors in the reflection of light, mirrors could play an important role in the brightness and light increase in the room, affecting the mood of the residing people. Thus, it can be concluded that mirrors had functional aspects such as light reflection and affecting the morale of people, especially in the winter section besides the decorative dimensions. In addition, it seems that mirror rooms had some social aspect that could really show the social hierarchy of the Islamic society of Qajar Era.