Friday 8 February 2008

Iranian villages

Doorway in Abyaneh

One of the more interesting aspects of our trip to Iran was the variety of places we visited besides the tiled mosques, ancient monuments and Zoroastrian sites I've already mentioned. These included visits to 2 villages. The first one, Gharavol Kaneh ( House of watchman) was at the beginning of our trip enroute from Zanjan to Takab. We were to walk through the village and take tea with a family with carpet weaving taking place. Not having my trekking pole with me, I didn't fancy the steep slippy muddy path so dispatched Ian to take the photos while I did some sketching in the lower parts of the village. One of the advantages of travelling as a couple! With such a busy schedule , its often difficult to snatch some time for sketching and usually involves missing out on some aspect but it's almost always worthwhile to absorb surroundings and observe in more detail.

In a village house - the ladies of the house (plus one of our party) snuggle under a table with a heater beneath , covered with a blanket ( Denise said it was very cosy) Ian's photo

A selection of the wools used in carpet weaving above the cotton warp. (Ian's photo)

The village was built of mud and straw and there were some monumental dung heaps. I'm sure it looked more picturesque in the winter when we saw it with the sparkling layer of snow that it would have done later in the year.

Sketches in the village.

In contrast, the village of Abyaneh which we visited towards the end of our trip (passing heavily guarded nuclear installations!) was much more touristy. It's an UNESCO site for its wonderful red mud buildings. Again I found a place to sketch while most of the group went on a walk

The place I found to sketch ( with a wonderful door) was close to a group of 3 old ladies sitting in the middle of the road, gossiping (1 was playing with a plastic crocodile). As far as I could see most of the population was very old, making a living selling dried apricots, apples and cherries, the younger ones I guess going to the cities. Abyaneh is supposed to be known for its embroidery and local costume but the stitching they had on show and for sale was very crude and most of the women were very proud of their blowsy acrylic headscarves. A few had plainer wool checked scarves which looked older. Made a change from the ubiquitous black chador

Once I'd finished my sketch and was packing up, the ladies came to investigate what I'd been doing. They made appreciative noises over my painting but were keener to see what I had underneath my headscarf, see what my hair looked like and admire my earrings. That said, sketching often gives a way into communication with local people that taking photographs doesn't. Or perhaps it was because I was on my own rather than with the group.
Sketch is at the top of this post rather than bottom as I made a mess of the uploading. Grrr.


Sue said...

Margaret, I have really enjoyed slowly reading about your holiday as you have unfolded different aspects. Thank you for sharing it.

Unknown said...

I just wanted to say the same thing - I appreciate these glimpses into another world