The beginning of Termeh weaving in Iran dates back to the early Safavid period, although some believe that the main birthplace of Termeh is the heart of Central Asia and the Kashmir highlands. Some believe that Termeh weaving began in Iran and then spread to Kashmir What can be said about this very delicate fabric is that the taste and initiative of Iranians in the delicacy of its texture, material and imaginative designs is unique in the world.
This art reached its peak of prosperity and development during the reign of Shah Abbas Safavid. , Which became world famous and became one of Iran’s export products.
Iranian Termeh like other Iranian handicrafts is one of the oldest original arts in Iran, which has a long history and was hand-woven in the past. At present, Persian silk Termeh in different colors is produced and woven in Yazd city (the historical city of Iran and the second most beautiful ancient city in the world in the UNESCO ranking) and in Iran. With this attitude, Termeh and kohl embroidery can be named as one of the oldest and most original surviving works of art. One of the important reasons for the antiquity and value of Termeh to the present day is its delicate texture, material and imaginative designs, which is unique in the world.
Persian Termeh has been admired throughout history; Greek historians commented on the beauty of Persian weavings in the Achaemenian (532 B.C.), Ashkani (222 B.C.) and Sasanidae (226–641 A.D.) periods .
In the past, the first step in Termeh weaving was the preparation of raw materials. Therefore, in preparing wool, washing and drying were two very important steps that if not taken care of, good quality wool could be lost. Termeh knitting requires high quality wool; In other words, it can be said that it is high quality wool that has long fibers. Usually, Iranian Termeh designs are the result of cooperation between two main or expert people and a worker. The Termeh weaving was so precise, delicate and time consuming that a good professional weaver could typically produce 25 to 30 cm of Termeh per day. The background colors used in Termeh are often red, green, orange and black.
Designs of Persian Termeh
Termeh as a valuable textile has many different usages. So it is woven on different sizes and shapes such as 150*150 or 100*100 centimetres for table cloth and wrapper.
1 – Checked pattern which is like bee’s hive and is used for a tablecloth.
2 – Stripped pattern which is of two models: narrow and wide stripped.
3 – Atabaki pattern which was one of the Kashmiri’s termeh used for expensive fabric because it was a finely woven termeh. Usually, nobles and aristocrats used it as costly and nice cloth.
4 – Zomorrodi pattern in which the green color was used more than the others.
5- Kashmiri pattern (cashmere) in which the shape of deer’s horn was used for its design.
Iranian Termeh price
When buying Termeh , you need to be careful about what you pay for. Termeh is usually an expensive effect. When buying Termeh, you should keep these factors in mind:
1. Typically, the more regular and extensive the effect, the higher the price and value.
2. The number of colors used is a very important factor in showing the value of the work, and as the number of colors increases, the price of the work increases dramatically.
3. The price of Termeh with gold or silver fibers is much higher than parts without metal. Unique design and attention to detail is an important factor and should be considered.
The last and most important factor is that Termeh has embroidery. Today, most Iranian Termeh are seriously used using techniques called “Sermeh embroidery”. This is an embroidery method that was used in ancient Iran and has been taught for a generation.
Sermeh embroidery (Persian: سرمه دوزی) is an Iranian style of embroidery. Its origin dates back to the Achaemenid dynasty (some 25 centuries ago). It reached its zenith in the Safavid Dynasty. In this style of embroidery, gold and silver threads would be used to make decorating patterns on the surface of fabric. Sermeh embroidery is the most popular in the cities of Isfahan, Yazd, Kashan.
Termeh, as the most sumptuous Iranian handwoven cloth, has for centuries manifested the artistic essence of the Iranian culture in clothing and décor.
The handicraft, which is woven with silk and wool and sometimes with gold and silver, is mainly used for decorative purposes in important ceremonies and in making various items such as table-cloths, bed sheets, scarves, cushion covers, curtains, garments, waist bands, robes, royal headdress and even bags and shoes.
The production of the luxurious fabric originates from Iran and Kashmir region in northern part of the Indian subcontinent. The artwork reached its zenith with more elaborate designs and diverse colors during the Safavid dynasty in Iran in late 16th century after Shah Abbas brought senior expert weavers from China and Armenia to use their experience in enhancing the quality of the artwork.
The Iranian southern provinces of Yazd and Kerman are well-known to be the hub of superior quality Termeh production. As the ancient Silk Road passes through both provinces, the Termeh produced in the area has long enjoyed an international fame, with merchants from different countries introducing the artwork to the other parts of the world.
Weaving Tehrmeh is a highly complicated task as the design is not printed on the cloth. The design, however, is made though arrangement of different colors of weft threads on warp yarns. The task requires a Termeh art expert to work on the weaving machine, while one or more assistants, called Gushvarehband, arranging the colors of the weft threads.
It normally takes eight hours of intensive work on a traditional wooden Termeh machines to produce 20-25 cm of the handicraft.
The quality and value of Termeh depends on the intricacy and aesthetic features of design, diversity of colors, density of texture and the material used.
The major symbol used in the design of Termeh is the botanical motif of Aryan Botteh (Paisley) which represents Cypress and tree of life in Zoroastrian folkloric tradition.
In the Iranian ancient culture, cypress is regarded as the symbol of resistance, liberty, fire and spirituality.
Other motifs used in Termeh design include clove, birds, fish and geometric shapes such as circles and squares.
Termeh colors are all traditionally from natural sources, usually plant-based dyes. The most common background colors for a Termeh are the different shades of red, turquoise, green, orange and black.
The greater the number of colors, the greater the value. Elaborate Termeh designs can incorporate up to 200-300 different colored threads.
Following the expansion of British colonialism and its growing influence in Iran during the Qajar dynasty (1785 to 1925), handwoven Termeh handicraft experienced a downward spiral, like many other industries, and it is almost going extinct nowadays.
However, Iranian craftsmen have managed to revive the art, relying on technological advances over the past 70 years. The growing use of semi-automatic machines in several Termeh manufacturing workshops across Iran, particularly in Yazd Province, is inevitably transitioning the artwork in Iran.
Apart from the growth in the quantity of Termeh production, artists use computer designing techniques to create more elaborate and intricate designs in the works.
While Termeh is gradually losing its rustic handicraft charm amid technological advances, the artwork is experiencing another phase of its evolution in the modern world, with manufacturers introducing more diverse Termeh products to the fashion and decoration industry as well as the cyber space.