History of wood in Iran
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7/26/2017 9:59:00 AM

History of wood in Iran

The history of wood and using wooden tools is investigated in this article


Wood is the most abundant material in nature that has been using by human. It is the most basic construction material in the world that human has used it throughout history. At first wood was vital material for constructing early tools, houses, boats. Then it was used for most useful utensils which human needed to improve the quality of their life. Wood is the only renewable natural resources. Petrol and coal and the other mines will eventually run out but the forests are sustainable and can produce wood unlimitedly. Wood has outstanding status in the world of economy. Annual wood production is two thousand five hundred m³ in the world.

Wood is super-strong, relatively cheap, environmentally friendly, warm and cozy. It lasts hundreds or even thousands of years. It is versatile material with many thousands of different uses. It can be deduced from the writing of scholars, historians and archeologists that using wood was common and usual in Iran in Stone Age. 

According to Roman Ghirshman, Russian-born French archeologist who specialized in ancient Iran, native Iranian used wood for building their houses. Considering to clay tablets which was found in Shush (the city located in Khuzestan Province), it shows that wood was used in making many instrument such as ladder in that era.

In addition, by studying the works of historians such as Herodotus, Greek historian, and Xenophon, ancient Greek philosopher and historian, it can be inferred that using wood was common and usual in Achaemenid¹ Empire (1. also called the First Persian Empire, was an empire based in Western Asia, founded by Cyrus the Great, 550 BC). According to researches on native people of northern Iran who lived before Aryan in Iran for centuries, people used wood to build their cottages in 4200 B.C.

In Achaemenid era evidence shows that forests and wood were extremely important for artists and people. Darius used wood for constructing Shush city. Cyrus the Great valued planting trees very much. Using wood is observed in architecture of Shush and Persepolis. Construction and architecture improved by using wood in Achaemenid era. Moreover the wood was used in constructing domes. The oldest wooden works after Islam are two columns of wood which discovered in western Turkestan. Large wooden parts were used for building before Islam. Generally utensils which were made of wood, included: Doors and windows, industrial tools, agricultural and war tools.

For conquering Sardis² ( 2. ancient city at the location of modern Sart  in Turkey's Manisa Province. Sardis was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia, one of the important cities of the Persian Empire), Iranian used large chariots which had wooden tower in the middle of them for shooters in order to stand on them. In this period, except for weapons, wood was used for agriculture, ship and house building. Some researchers have declared that many coverings of Persepolis³ (3. ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire which is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province) were made of wood but destroyed by fire. Furthermore, other researchers expressed that the ceiling of Palace of Darius⁴(4. a palace complex built by the Achaemenid king Darius I in Susa, his favorite capital) in Shush was made of Cedar wood.

In Parthian period⁵ ( 5. known as the Arsacid Empire, was a major Iranian political and cultural power in ancient Iran and Iraq) , using wood in construction was common and usual. Moreover in Sasanian period, wooden coil was used to strengthen the walls.

In Seljuk⁶ period (6.Great Seljuk Empire was a medieval Turko-Persian Sunni Muslim empire, originating from the Qynyq branch of Oghuz Turks), not only wood was used in art and industry but also its decoration was considered specially.

It was inferred from investigating two parts of pulpit, (which are kept in Metropolitan Museum now) that carving on wood was very common in Seljuk period. Wood carving continued in Timurid period and we can see the combination of Persian and Chinese motifs. In fourteenth century, wood industry improved and developed in terms of technical and artistic field in Iran.