(Persia digest)- A feature of Iranian architecture that has undergone great change over time are its doors; so much so that the old wooden doors with special ornaments have now been replaced by iron doors with remote controls. All the same, there are some old houses in Iranian cities with old doors of historic value that are still turning on their hinges, their beauty a reminder of the culture and creativity of architects in that era.
The dazzling charm of entrance doors includes two knockers. They each had a special function. The size and shape of these knockers derive from the Islamic culture of the people regarding the ‘mahram’ [close unmarriageable kin] and ‘namahram’ [men a woman can marry] concepts of the faith. Based on this, the knocker on the right was usually a lion’s head, a clinched fist, or similar shapes, weighing heavier than the knocker on the left, thus sounding heavier. In the old tradition, men knocked with the knocker on the left and women with the one on the right to alert the occupants of the house. The knocker used by men was called “Darku” and the one used by women “‘Alkeh” meaning ring.
These knockers were hit against a plate by the name of ‘Pullak’ which amplified the sound. These plates were decorated with reliefs in the shape of 12 stars, one sun (ring), and one moon (knocker) to keep the occupants safe from satanic thoughts and evil spirits. The numbers 12 and 14 are sacred in the Shia faith, representing the 12 Imams and 14 members of the Prophet’s (PBUH) household.
The ‘stud’ with a pattern resembling the sun also features on old doors. The doors were made of different layers and the studs were used instead of simple nails to hold the boards together. The stud itself also added to the beauty of the door. These old doors and their ornaments still exist in cities around Iran and are considered a cultural-historical attraction.
Photo: Abbas Heidari/IRNA