Pottery or ‘Sofālgarī’ is one the most acclaimed and renowned, traditional handicrafts of Iran that refers to the art of making different kinds of pottery and crockery of baked clay such as vases, bowls and jars. The kind of pottery without glaze is called “biscuit pottery (Sofāl)”. Iranian ‘Sofāl’ or earthenware is made of ‘secondary soils’ ( secondary soils are those not fixed in one place but moving all the time. therefore, have less purity and stickiness and are baked in the heat of 950 to 1000 degrees centigrade. The most important secondary soil is clay, whose natural color varies from buff to red.The English term ceramic contains the exact meaning of ‘Sofāl’ in Persian which is produced in most provinces of Iran such as Hamadān, Tehrān, Qom, Esfehān, Yazd, Gīlān, Māzandarān etc.
One of the main centers of pottery in Iran is, however, Kolpurgān in Sīstān Va Balūchestān Province that is well-known for its distinctive making-technique that is briefly dealt with here; In Kolpūrgān the crockery is made by string method rather than the traditional pottery-machine. In string method the clay is kneaded and shaped into thin strings. Then the clay strings are put together to reach the desired size. Subsequently the potters make a lot of diagonal or vertical lines to fade the lines of the string clays and make the surface appear smooth. After drawing the desired shapes and designs on crockery, they finally put them into kilns. Kolpūrgān’s earthenware are not enameled which resembles the earthenware of primitive men.
The other important pottery production center is Lalejin, one of the northern cities in Hamedan province. Its pottery has a worldwide reputation, in fact it is the capital of Iran’s pottery. In this city, the art of Pottery is passed on from generation to generation. The young have continued to inherit this unique heritage of their fathers. The city has 850 pottery workshops and 250 stores.