Persian craft: Rashti-duzi from Gilan

TEHRAN – Rashti-duzi is a traditional crochet and needlework from Rasht, the capital of the northern province of Gilan, and it is considered one of the finest and most valuable handicrafts in Iran. It has a very long history, like many other crafts.

The history of this type of craft dates back to 550 to 330 BC according to Visit Iran. The crochet is made with a special hook that creates patterns with silk threads on Mahut fabric, a worsted wool material.

Iranian textiles were exported all over the world during the Sasanian dynasty in the 5th century. Iranian textiles and carpets were so popular in Europe that most tombstones of monarchs and ancient Europeans were covered with Iranian textiles and carpets. In the Hermitage Museum there is a piece of the most beautiful Sasanian cloth decorated with hooks.

During the Safavid, Afsharid, Zand and Qajar dynasties, when artists made a variety of products, this craft flourished. The number of products is high during these years.

The crochet was done by artisans after sketching and drawing the patterns with various social, political, cultural, religious and economic subjects. Crocheting and sewing have been combined by masters to enhance the beauty of their products, resulting in very elegant designs.

In Gilan, most patterns come from the memory and imagination of their creators and are passed down from generation to generation. The most popular and in-demand designs are old designs such as “Kaj Butehee”, paisleys and circles.

Rashti-duzi is divided into three categories: 1. single crochet, in which the fabric is crocheted with colored silk threads after drawing a pattern.

2. Crochet combined with the “Tekeh-duzi” method. Once the artist has applied the pattern to the Mahut fabric, he cuts out a specific part, replaces it with a piece of another color, and then crochets it.

3. Crochet combined with the “Moaragh” method. Of all the kinds, it is the most elaborate. Using colored Mahut pieces, the artist assembles them by crocheting their edges together. This technique has been used to make products such as tablecloths, draperies, bedding, cushions, coasters, bags, luggage and floor coverings.