Familiarity with the art of making Lenj in Iran
The art of making Lenj is an old art that is in danger of being forgotten! Bushehr province in Iran has the largest maritime border in the country which includes 900 kilometers. This geographical feature has provided a good opportunity of seafaring for people of this region. Bushehr’s proximity to Persian Gulf has made it one of the most important waterways in the world. This fact causes people of this region to think about seafaring, and take important steps in this direction for a long time. Given the importance of the sea for people of Bushehr, and their need for launches and boats, it has been a reason for one of the arts and creature among people of this southern region. The art of making Lenj is a real proof.
Although this art is gradually being forgotten, it does not cause it to be removed from history. People of Bushehr province never forget this art. In this article, we are going to talk about the art of making Lenj in Iran which is in fact the ancient art of people from Bushehr, and gives you useful information about its global registration at UNESCO.
The importance of making Lenj
As mentioned above, navigation is important for people to travel, trade, and commerce, as well as fishing. This fact has led people to build vessels of different sizes and dimensions to do this. Iranian maritime knowledge, or Galafi, was nationally registered in 2009. This art is one of the oldest and most important handicrafts in Bushehr, dating back to the Afsharid period. The port of Bushehr was so glorious during the Afsharid era as Iran’s maritime trade center in a way that the industry was active and alive in Bushehr flourishing.
The meaning of Lenj
Lenj in Persian is derived from the English word Launch which itself comes from the Spanish word Lancha. On the east coast of Africa, Lenj is called “Dehu”. The basic materials of Galafi or the art of making Lenj are resistant woods which do not draw moisture. This kind of wood is with a special grease that is mostly used in the skeleton of Lenj. There is also high-quality Indian boards called (Sai) for floating body.
The art of making Lenj in ancient Iran, the oldest industry in Bushehr province
Art: Galafi (making Lenj)
Date: Afsharid period
Birthplace or Art City: Bushehr, Rig Port, Genaveh Port, Shif Island and some other ports in southern Iran
Usage: Lenj is mostly used for fishing and transportating goods for import and export, as well as travel.
Name of Galafi Builders: Galafan
Survivors (people who still make Lenj): Currently, several special people are working in Bushehr.
Causes of Recession and the Most Important Challenges in Rehabilitation: Replacing Fishing Boats Made of Fiberglass and Metal Instead of Wooden Floats or Lenj
Due to the importance of the art of making Lenj in Bushehr province and in general in the south of Iran, these handicrafts were highly concerned. Because of this art, the rate of maritime exchanges and sailing were highly prosperous. We should note that the materials used in making Lenj were moisture-resistant forest wood for the skeleton and high-quality Indian boards called Sai for the body. Unfortunately, this industry is currently being forgotten. The reason for this, as mentioned above, is the replacement of fiberglass boats which we will discuss in more detail.
Prohibition of making wooden Lenj
Due to the fact that gasoline and diesel engines have been used to move the launches since the 1950s, most of the Lenjes still have engines, and this has been a great help to seafarers. In the south of Iran, those who are engaged in the art of making Lenj are called “Jalaf” or “Galaf”. The captain’s room is called “Ghomareh” and the lower warehouse called “Khon” . Iranian Lenj is mostly found on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and the art of making Lenj is one of the indigenous industries of the Persian Gulf people. In fact, Lenj is a species kind of small ship or large cargo or passenger boat that can be seen in the Persian Gulf, and the Sea of Oman and the Indian Ocean. Lenjes are built on the basis of common sailing boats in the Persian Gulf, except that they move with the engine instead of the sail. It has an open or semi-open deck.
Ports, Maritime Organization, and Environment Organization have banned the production and manufacture of any wooden vessels, replacing them with fiberglass vessels which has led to slump of one of the oldest handicrafts in Iran. People who make Lenj in south of Iran are currently makers of old Lenjes and boats, and are mostly engaged in repairing and scraping or waving existing wooden boats.
The art of making Lenj at UNESCO
Regarding the antiquity of the art of making Lenj in Iran, Amin Bineshpajooh, Deputy of Traditional Arts and Handicrafts of General Directorate of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism of Bushehr Province, said in an interview:
“The proposal of registering the art of making Lenj in Iran at UNESCO as Iranian maritime knowledge has been presented by the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization of the country.”
Amin Bineshpajooh also stated:
“Iranian maritime knowledge in four southern provinces of Bushehr, Khuzestan, Hormozgan, Sistan and Baluchestan has been proposed to UNESCO for global registration by the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization after its national registration in 1988. This intangible heritage of Iran registerd on the list in 2011.
how to perpetuate the industry of repairing Lenj
The General Directorate of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism of Bushehr Province has also said in order to reviving the repairment and wick-weaving industry in Galafi: “Wooden Lenj as a traditional art and craft are still mostly used for transportation of goods. They are active in Bushehr province; Due to the fact that most of the wooden Lenjes are located in Genaveh port and Ameri port, the art of making Lenj in Iran in these two regions is active for repairing and wick weaving.
Bineshpajooh, Deputy Minister of Traditional Arts and Crafts, Bushehr Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Department, added: “A review of various aspects of this art as an intangible cultural asset and social heritage. Surprising results in various fields.” It will be up to the researchers. Also, the study of work music during the production and production of wooden vessels with a unique and unique rhythmic beat and rhythm, production of vessels without modern maps in modern style and unique technology that has apparently been passed down from generation to generation. Golfalan is located in Bushehr province.
Forgetting the art of making Lenj in Iran
Many of Iran’s old handicrafts and arts are being forgotten due to their increasing development and progress, While each of them is considered as a part of the history of this land. Although maritime and fishing plans and the use of vessels are becoming more widespread, and newer uses such as tourism are being added to other benefits of vessels, the art of making Lenj in Iran or Galafi is increasingly being forgotten. At present, new vessels are made of metal or fiberglass, and the construction of wooden vessels is increasingly marginalized, and industry activists are only engaged in repairs.