Art And Culture

UNESCO Award of Excellence for ‘Rashti-Duzi’

UNESCO Award of Excellence for ‘Rashti-Duzi’UNESCO Award of Excellence for ‘Rashti-Duzi’

The traditional Persian embroidery, ‘Rashti-Duzi’ has received the UNESCO Award of Excellence in Handicrafts.  The art combines crochet and embroidery and has a long history of more than 400 years in Iran.

Seyyede Khadijeh Jafari, whose Rashti-Duzi works received the UNESCO Award of Excellence in 2013, says the art is assumed to have originated in the 6th century B.C. in Europe. It is however unclear how the art found its way to Gilan, a northern province of Iran. “Gilani women have employed Rashti Duzi in their stitching and costumes since 400 years ago, probably since sericulture (raising silk worm) began in the province,” said Jafari.

Rashti-Duzi is created with the help of hooks, slightly different from crochet hooks. Jafari, who has been creating Rashti-Duzi for years, says she creates new patterns and uses of the art by adding contemporary designs to the traditional patterns.

 Fashion Designing

She further says Rashti-Duzi is currently taught in many cities of Iran and is used by fashion designers for embroidering skirt and sleeve borders in women’s costumes. “The early masters of Rashti-Duzi were mostly men, but since the art did not generate sufficient income, they turned to other means of livelihood. Currently there are very few men mastering the art,” says Jafari.

The Award of Excellence in Handicrafts (formally known as the Seal of Excellence) was established in South East Asia in 2001 as a joint initiative by UNESCO and the ASEAN Handicraft Promotion and Development Association (AHPADA). The objective of the award “is to encourage artisans to produce handicrafts using traditional skills, patterns and themes in an innovative way, in order to ensure the continuity and sustainability of these traditions and skills.”