Iran is among the world's top three handicrafts producers, said the head of the handicraft association of the central Iranian province of Isfahan.
Close to 60 percent of Iran's total handicrafts are produced in Isfahan, making the province the country's top producer of such items, Abbas Shirdel told Iran Daily.
He said Iranian handicrafts has the greatest diversity worldwide, overtaking China and India which rank higher than Iran is terms of producing such items.
"Of the total 297 types of handicrafts produced in Iran, 199 pertain to Isfahan Province, which shows the high status of the art and creativity among the people of the province."
He said Isfahan is leading in production of all kinds of handicrafts, describing the province's artists as creative and innovative.
Shirdel said handicrafts play an important role in the presentation of a country's art and culture to the world, adding given its position in production of such items, in 2015, Isfahan Province was recognized by the World Crafts Council (WCC) as the World Crafts City and registered as a UNESCO creative city.
He noted that in the same year, the world crafts secretariat was established in the city.
Shirdel noted that by increasing production and exports of handcrafts Iran can generate revenue without selling oil and raw minerals to other countries.
Warning that the art of making certain handicrafts is fading into oblivion, he said in case this happens to any of the handicrafts currently produced in the country a large number of jobs will be lost leading a decrease in the number of the country's sources of income.
"At present, more than 40,000 people are involved in the field of producing handicrafts in Isfahan Province. A major part of the livelihood of a large number of people in this province depends on this sector."
He noted that there are 18 handicrafts centers, also called houses, in Isfahan, which help preserve and promote the art related to the making of different kinds of crafts.
Shirdel listed some of the province's famous techniques for crafts production as Khatam — an ancient Persian technique of inlaying, toreutics — artistic metalworking, Kashani, making porcelain enamel, Kalamkari — a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, and wood carving.
He said the art of making porcelain enamel with a historical background of close to 5,000 years has been registered internationally.
Highlighting the importance of managing and organizing Iran's handicrafts exports more effectively, Shirdel noted that currently, Isfahan's overseas sales of crafts are done merely through individuals and passengers visiting the city.
He said Isfahan Province's handicraft are exported to most countries even China which is among the world's biggest producers and exporters of such items.