WORLD CRAFTS COUNCIL
(WCC AISBL) INTERNATIONAL
Zanjan (Arabic name is Zangan) is one of the Turkish-speaking cities of Azarbaijan area in Iran, It is the capital of Zanjan Province. Historians have mentioned name of “Shahin" as the city's first name. According to their records, Ardeshir Babakan, the Sassanid leader, built this city.
The name “Zangan” was given to this city that people of this city were known as Zoroastrianism and the People of the Book (Zand) which they were called Zandigan and later shortened for the term Zangan.
After the arrival of the Arabs into this city and its full demolition, it was rebuilt with the name of Zanjan by its Arabic dialect. This city was destroyed in the Mongol invasions for the second time in the seventh century AH (12A.D/13A.D), and was abandoned for a while, the city of Soltaniyeh has been progressing and expanding as a capital city of the Ilkhans.
Revival and blossoming of Zanjan city is in the Safavid period, during this period artists and industrialists from different cities have been sent to Zanjan, and this period was the peak of metalworking and the construction of metal artifacts, including Knife Making, charuq (a local style of women's shoes, similar to clod hopper shoes),Malileh (filigree work), copper smithing and carvings, rug weaving and carpet weaving (including Kilm and Jajim style).
Zanjan city has a land area of 156 square kilometers and the urban area 86 square kilometers and it is located in the northwest of Iran.
This city is located along the Silk Road. The arrival rate of tourists to Zanjan city is about 300 thousand people annually that 90% of whom are visiting the handicrafts shops, especially Malileh shops.
Zanjan Province has numerous workshops for producing various handicraft products, some of them (Copper utensils, Knife, and Malileh) are dedicated to Zanjan region and they have a special popularity in local and foreign markets in terms of production and quality.
Malileh is a special technique in making decorative objects and jewelry, from metals such as gold, silver, copper and Bronze. Silver is the most common for its reasonable price, gold is used for jewelry, other metals are used less than silver or gold.
The smallest unit of silver or gold, sometimes quality copper, is named Malileh (a strip consisting of two twisted wire), which is used to provide small varieties within the original design, thus creating the object with which all the roles and filled with Malileh tapes, they are referred to as Malilehsmith objects.
At the present time, Tehran Malileh artisans tend to work more in jewelery, howevere it is more popular in Zanjan, it is necessary to explain that Malileh art is also practiced limitedly in Tabriz, but Zanjan's Malileh has a special place in Iran due to the authenticity of the designs and also has a unique elegance in total quality and in turn it has a special place among the leading branches of Iranian handicrafts. This art in Zanjan has a significant boom.
Today, in Zanjan, there are about 30 to 40 active Malilehsmithing shop workshops, and there are usually one to four artisans active in each workshop, and some Malileh beaters have a home workshop.
Teachers of Malileh beaters of these workshops are all students of the professor ((Mansour Kazemian Moghaddam)).
In order to preserve this art This great Professor, with cooperation of Zanjan Handicrafts Organization have introduced the work in the provincial education center since 1983.