(Persia Digest) – Sash windows are still a popular part of the Iranian-Islamic architecture produced in a workshop in Tabriz in Azerbaijan Province, northwestern Iran.
The word “orsi” for sash windows has entered the Persian language from Russian – “or” meaning slide up and “si” meaning light and fountains which is also used in the dialects of southern Iran.
“Orsi” sash windows slide vertically and usually open onto the courtyard.
Girih [knot in Persian] wood designs are created with pieces of cut wood and stained glass in various geometric shapes, aligned repeatedly alongside one another. The geometric patterns are in fact an inseparable part of this art.
A prime example of this art in Iran is the Chehel Sotoun edifice, Hasht Behesht, and the Alam, Sheikh-ol-Islam, and Sukias historic houses in Isfahan. A number of historic houses in kashan, and also the Tabatabaei, Abbasian, and Boroujerdi-ha houses among others in Yazd and other ancient parts of Iran display the art in all its glory.
The orsi sash windows are usually rectangular. The upper parts of the windows extend up to the ceiling, rectangular or crescent-shaped and arched, with stained glass panes. Such doors and windows were widely used in the hot, arid climate of central Iran to adjust and soften the penetrating light.
No nails and glues are used in making orsi windows and all the geometric shapes are put together with delicate wooden fittings (tongues and grooves).
The art of Girih and orsi making is an original art which is also rather costly due to the painstaking work involved. This wood art can be seen in religious venues, such as Imam Reza’s Mausoleum in Mashhad, northeastern Iran, or the Shah Abdol-Azim Mausoleum in Ray, southern Tehran. Nevertheless, a workshop in Tabriz continues to produce fine quality orsi sash windows for the lovers of original Iranian interior decorations.
Photos: Seyed Kazem Yusefi/IRNA News Agency