The Persian word woodcarving or Monabbat is defined as "a place where plants grow," "a place of origination and growth," or "a relief carved out of wood. "woodcarving (or Monabbat-Kari) is the art of creating embossed patterns and designs by carving on blocks of wood.

While materials other than wood are sometimes used in this art, woodcarving (or Monabbat-Kari) is commonly perceived to be the same as “Monabbatkari on wood.” So, in colloquial language, Monabbat is synonymous with “wood carving.”

Handmade woodcarving

What’s the difference between woodcarving and marquetry?

Don’t worry at all! Most people actually wonder about this. Here’s how we’d answer it:

  • woodcarving (Monabbatkari) involves carving wood into relief sculptures, while a work of marquetry is made by the arrangement of different shapes cut out of materials such as wood, ivory, oyster, bronze, and silver.
  • A work of woodcarving is a single-piece object carved out of wood. But in marquetry, first, the design is transferred onto the wooden base surface and then cut along the outlines using special tools; next, the cutouts are carefully arranged together.

handmade comb

The difference between woodcarving (Monabbatkari) and marquetry provides a great opportunity to skillfully combine the two art forms into a single artwork, with the distinct features of each making for an incredibly eye-catching result. For example, the top surface of a table can be ornamented with marquetry, while stunning designs can be carved out along the sides of the top and the feet.

What types of wood are used in woodcarving (Monabbatkari)?

To make a Monabbatkari piece, you need to choose a wood that maintains its strength, durability, and, of course, beauty in the long run. woodcarving artists choose woods based on the color and texture they want their works to have. Some of the most frequently used woods in this craft are:

  • Black poplar
  • Pear
  • Walnut
  • Plane
  • Beech

Each of these woods has its own unique color, which, in combination with a creator’s artistry, significantly enhances the beauty of a wooden handicraft.

Steps of woodcarving (Monabbatkari)

These steps are taken by professionals to create a work of woodcarving (Monabbatkari):

  • Choosing the design and the wood
  • Transferring the design onto the block of wood
  • Securing the wooden block with a woodworking clamp and coating it in crude oil (to soften it)
  • Carving the design along the outlines using V-tools
  • Flattening the design background with a straight chisel
  • Carving out the design using chisels, gouges, and V-tools; and adding the final details


woodcarving (Monabbatkari) products

Works of Monabbatkari (woodcarving) can be categorized into:

  • Wooden containers
  • Relief sculptures
  • Coffee tables
  • Ornaments

Which cities in Iran produce Monabbatkari (woodcarving)?

The cradle of Monabbatkari, Malayer, Hamadan Province, is home to more than 5,000 woodcarving workshops, creating jobs for more than 20,000 artists. A leading exporter of the craft, the city is responsible for more than 70 percent of the national and international Monabbatkari production. Tuyserkan, Golpayegan, and Abadeh are three of the other cities where Monabbatkari is professionally practiced.


Which countries are Iranian woodcarving (Monabbatkari) exported to?

Persian woodcarving (Monabbatkari) is popular in many countries around the world and is exported to European, Central Asian, and Arab Persian Gulf countries, as well as Canada, the US, Turkey, and Iraq. Cyruscrafts is working to bring further international exposure to Iran’s rich art and culture by introducing and selling various Persian handicrafts, including exquisite and outstanding works of wood carving (Monabbatkari) made by Iranian artists.

Cyruscrafts specializes in the supply, sale, and export of the finest Persian handicrafts, including works of woodcarving (Monabbatkari). We bring you high-class, one-of-a-kind products that will liven up and individualize your home or workplace.


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