Persian handicrafts: Rashti-duzi of Gilan
The Rashti-duzi is a traditional crochet and sewing work of Rasht, the capital of the northern province of Gilan, and it is considered one of Iran’s most beautiful and valuable handicrafts. It has a very long history, like many other handicrafts.
The history of this type of handicraft dates back to 550 to 330 B.C. according to Visit Iran. The crocheting is done with a special hook that creates patterns with silk yarns on Mahut fabric, a wool worsted material. Iranian textiles were exported all over the world during the Sassanid dynasty in the 5th century. Iran’s textiles and carpets were so popular in Europe that most of the tombstones of European monarchs and elders were covered with Iranian textiles and carpets. In the Hermitage Museum is a piece of the finest Sassanid fabric decorated with crocheting. During the Safavid, Afsharid, Zand, and Qajar dynasties, when the artists made a variety of products, this handicraft flourished. The number of products is high during these years. The crocheting was done by craftsmen after sketching and drawing the patterns with various social, political, cultural, religious, and economic subjects. Crochet and needlework were combined by the masters to enhance the beauty of their products, resulting in very elegant patterns. In Gilan, most of the motifs were derived from the memory and imagination of their makers and were passed on from one generation to the next. The most popular and most in-demand motifs are old motifs such as “Kaj Butehee”, paisleys and circles. Rashti-duzi is divided into three categories: 1. simple crocheting, in which the fabric is crocheted with colored silk yarns after a pattern is drawn. 2. Crocheting combined with the “Tekeh-duzi” method. After the artist applies the pattern to the Mahut fabric, he cuts out a specific portion, replaces it with a piece of another color, and then crochets it. 3. Crocheting combined with the “Moaragh” method. Among all kinds, this is the most elaborate. Using colorful Mahut pieces, the artist patches them together by crocheting their edges together. This technique has been used to make products such as table cloths, drapery, bedding, cushions, coasters, bags, luggage, and floor coverings.