News ID: 57128
Published: 1158 GMT December 09, 2014

Veteran plasterer

Veteran plasterer

Morteza Motififard, 70, has been doing plasterwork since his childhood.He was born in Isfahan. His ancestors were involved in plasterwork, as well as his father and brother.


Motififard started to do plasterwork at the age of eight. He became interested in plasterwork in a short time and decided to learn more about it.

The veteran artisan visited monuments pertaining to Ilkhanid, Safavid and Qajar eras, and studied plasterwork used in their architecture.

Motififard compiled three books on plasterwork and also taught the subject in universities. He intends to write a book about plasterwork used in Achaemenid architecture.

"Plaster is one of the best materials for construction operations and decorations used in the architecture of monuments," he said.

Architects give high importance to plaster due to its quality, affordable price, flexibility and variety.

“We have 24 types of plaster. Some of them have a lifespan of less than 20 years, while others can remain intact for 4,000 years,” he said.

Motififard said in the absence of iron beams, plaster was used for the fortification of buildings.

"Monuments, belonging to Achaemenid and Sassanid eras, are proof of this fact," he added.

Plaster was used for buttressing the arches and columns in Safavid era. Its use as a decoration in architecture reached its zenith during the Seljuk era.

He said plasterwork applied in the prayer niche of Isfahan's Jame’ Mosque during the Ilkhanid era and  Naein Jame’ Mosque of Abbasid era, as well as the plasterworks of Aali-Qapu, Chehel-Sotoun, and Hasht-Behesht monuments are among masterpieces of Iranian architecture.

Motififard has renovated and restored many ancient monuments, including Jame’ Mosque and Amir Nezam House in Tabriz, moqarnas used in Ershadi House in Ardabil, Sheikh Jabrail Mausoleum in Kalkhoran, Hassankhan and Shahbazkhan bathhouses, Green Dome (pertaining to Ilkhanid era) and Aminabad Caravansary in Shahreza.

“I am glad that I started doing plasterwork in childhood and continued it till now. I hold an honorary doctorate from UNESCO and Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization. I introduced many masters of plasterwork to Iranian architecture,” he said.

Plasterwork is one of the arts affiliated to architecture. Using plaster for constructing buildings has an ancient history.

Plaster has been used as a resistant material in the architecture of the Great Pyramids of Egypt.

Later, plaster was also used for covering the walls and interior surfaces of buildings.

The architects of Achaemenid and Sassanid eras used plasterwork for decorating the buildings. The plaster art reached its zenith during the Ilkhanid era.

Tools and materials include trowels, floats, hammers, screeds, a hawk, scratching tools, utility knives, laths, lath nails, lime, sand, hair, plaster of Paris, a variety of cements and various ingredients to form color washes.

While most tools have remained unchanged over the centuries, developments in modern materials have led to some changes.

Trowels, originally constructed from steel, are now available in a polycarbonate material that allows the application of certain new, acrylic-based materials without staining the finish.

Floats, traditionally made of timber (ideally straight-grained, knot-free, yellow pine), are often finished with a layer of sponge or expanded polystyrene.




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