Amir Reza Khadem, the Master of Toreutics on stone Master Amir Reza Khadem, the master… دوشنبه ۲۳ اردیبهشت ۹۸

Amir Reza Khadem, the Master of Toreutics on stone

Master Amir Reza Khadem, the master of Toreutics on Stone in a friendly conversation with ERAVEL: As I have already written about Malek historical house as a center of training Art and Handicraft skills in Mashhad, and I introduce Hassan Attarian, the master of engraving on precious stones, this time I want to have a friendly chat with maybe the only and best master of toreutics in Iran, but not the master of toreutics on metals like silver and copper as it is popular in Isfahan or some other cities and it is known as “Ghalam Zani”. I am talking about the art if toreutics on a very special kind of serpentine which is called “Harkare” in Mashhad. Harkare in local dialect refers to a type of serpentine that you can do anything (Har Kar) on it, this name is used due to its very flexibility against hammer to shape it and also against fire. Stay with ERAVEL to know more of this Art and its creator, Master Amir Reza Khadem
Amir Reza Khadem, the Master of Toreutics on stone
My name is Amir Rea Khadem, I’m 50 years old and my profession is toreutics on stone, I have learned this Art from my father who was one of the beginners of this art, I used to work in the stone bazaar of Mashhad and now I am here, in Malek historical house, to engrave on stones and train the students. The rock used in this Art is called Serpentine, it is in grey when extracted. There are different types of Serpentine in Iran but none has the quality of this type extracted in Mashhad, this is the reason why this stone is unique
Amir Reza Khadem, the Master of Toreutics on stone
Serpentine has several models. The samples of this rock have not yet been found elsewhere. I myself have not seen a rock of this quality and softness anywhere else but in our own city Mashhad. There is nothing like this not in Iran, nor in any other country. This is the reason why this art is unique. Perhaps one can find all over the world, but this rock is not anywhere with this quality. When the rock extracted, it will have sent to turning stonework which is located usually in suburb generally due to dust and sound pollution. Then we ask the stoneworkers to turn the rock to something like a plate, glass or another thing that we want to engrave on it. Before we start the engraving on stones we color them in black for this color is the only one that makes the best shades


We use two steel pens to carve the stones, this is our only tool. We carve the main plan and then make the shades. Our designs are in two types, some of them are improvisation and mostly repetitive such as Persepolis, Miniature designs and so on, and some are different orders from our customers like brand logos and portraits

The history of Toreutics on serpentine stone

My father and some others were the creatures of this Art. The first one who started this art was Mr. Jahangiri, master of toreutics from Isfahan. He used to come here regularly and I know him from when I was very young. He started to make the first designs on stone as he has been done it on copper. This was the first time someone started to engrave a design on stone, there was no tool and no specified scheme, there was no method but the technology came to enhance this art very soon. The stoneworkers used the electromotor and turning tools and the diversity of designs increased
Starting this by Mr. Jahangiri, my father, Mr. Qasem Moghadas and someone whose name was Iraj, started to learn and create different designs. beginning years of the 40s and 50s were the best years for this art. The international travelers started to visit Iran, handicrafts were introduced and local artists were in their best financial conditions, their income was even in better situation in contrast to a physician. We had an unbelievable number of international tourists and it was the best years for Iranian crafts

Presence in exhibitions

We are generally involved in various exhibitions. As a matter of fact, an important part of our business is to participate in various exhibitions. Foreigners and especially Europeans mostly welcome a lot to our exhibitions, but unfortunately in the last two years, participation in foreign exhibitions is not easy for us, for the money situation is changing day by day and our material is heavy to carry. Many foreigners offer us to take part in different exhibitions, but in the current situation, we have no economic justification at all. The other reason is that I personally am the only one who does this by hand. Taking part in foreign expositions requires that I have several students and enter the market in a massive quantity. In those circumstances, even if we are abroad, we can return the currency. On the other hand, as my works are very unique and It is produced on a low scale, all my works have been sold in local exhibitions in Tehran. This art is so unique, with a high quality so when we take part in an exhibition in Tehran for instance, all the participants from different cities come to visit ours

Amir Reza Khadem, the Master of Toreutics on stone

The mines

We have already had various serpentine mines in Mashhad but the only active one is Zakaria which is located in Namaz Boulevard, but most of people think that the mine was located in Kooh Sangi area, it is due to the fact that the first stoneworkers works there

Our customers

We have our special customers that some usually buy our works for foreigners and some order special designs for their gusts coming from different countries. For example, I once ordered a portrait of a Kong Fu coach on a plate. When they took it to Korea, according to our customer said, the all sport field gathered and looked at it. It was very new to them. There are various arts and various works but that is unique

The public welcome decreased

After the revolution, we experienced the recession, I remember when my father closed his shop and started traveling. In that economic situation, art works were not welcomed, and these days the situation has been so bad that if I do not do this one day, then this field may be completely vanished in such quality. I think there is only 4 or 5 who can do this in this level. Unfortunately, the government has not welcomed the field either. Mines are mostly closed. The main material is expensive and everything is going to make this art being forgotten. There are a lot of problems to revive the art and it’s too late. Nowadays the variety of products has increased and unfortunately many of them are low quality Chinese works

Amir Reza Khadem, the Master of Toreutics on stone


Master Amir Reza khadem is now in his 50s, you can visit him these days in Malek historical house or you can find him on his Instagram page


Zohreh Khosravi | 12th May 2019

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