This past summer, I visited my motherland of Iran after 9 years! It was strange but also very exciting to be back. I definitely felt like a foreigner in my own land. One of my main goals for my visit, besides seeing old friends and extended family, was to play tourist and visit all the historic sights in Tehran. I really wanted to immerse myself in the history and culture of the city. I must admit that this desire was in part inspired by the highly popular TV show, Shahrzad, that portrays life in Tehran during the 50’s.
So on a scorching hot August day, I set path on a journey of exploring the old city. As I was walking around, I noticed a sign from the right corner of my eye that read Abgineh Museum: Glassware & Ceramic Museum of Tehran. I took a few steps forward and I had to take a second look at what was on my right. Is this magnificent old mansion, the museum? I knew it must have a fascinating story behind it so without any hesitation, I made my way inside the 7,000 square meter garden that surrounded it and was welcomed by the museum clerk who not only gave me a tour of the museum, but also took my pictures 🙂
For most of you who may not know about this historical monument, it was built in the early 1920’s by the order of Ahamad Ghavam (Prime minster of Iran during the Ghadjar dynasty) to serve as his primary residence and office until 1953. It was then sold to the Egyptians to serve as the premises of the Egyptian embassy for the next 7 years. In 1976, Queen Farah Pahalvi purchased the property and had a group of Iranian, Austrian and French architects renovate it before opening its doors to the public in 1980 as the Glassware and Ceramic Museum of Tehran. According to Hans Hollein, one of the Austrian architects, “the pieces of glassware and ceramics date from prehistory, through Achaemenid times, up to the main bulk of the Islamic period and on to the early twentieth century.” In 1989, the museum was registered as a national heritage sight. For full details on the making of the museum, you can head over to ARCHNET and read the publication written by Hollein.
Now let’s teleport to the museum, shall we?
The Horse Shoe Shaped Grand Staircases
The beautifully hand carved Russian style wood staircases were shaped as a horseshoe for good luck.
The Second Floor Adorned by Glass and Mirror Embellishments
The Sadaf (seashell) Hall
This hall looks like a half open seashell and includes potteries form 3rd and 4th Century.
Collection of Perfume, Rose Water and Tear Drop Holders
There is a beautiful symbolism behind the concept of tear drop holders, which dates back to times of war. When a woman’s husband was drafted for war, she would cry and pray for him to return safely. She then poured a few of her teardrops in small jar like the ones in this photo and gave it to her husband with the promise that he would bring it back home with him. The jar was like a good omen for the husbands.
For a virtual tour of the museum and more details about the property and museum collection, check out the video below created by Press TV.