Types of ancient Iranian toys: Four cycles, Animal figures, Functional toys (Jeghjegheh), Decorative toys, Clay educational boards, handmade dolls, Ritual and religious toys.
The era of ancient Iran comprises of time the inception of the Mede Empire to the fall of the Sasanian Empire and the Arab conquest of Iran. Ethnographically viewed, culture and civilization, including customs and traditions, have left a great impact on the creation of playing dolls, particularly the handmade traditional ones.
Archeological excavations conducted in Iran have so far unearthed so many antique objects including some small ones with others possessing a childish design and thus, believed to have been toys. Archaeological excavations conducted over the world’s ancient civilizations have revealed children’s toys and gadgets indicating that the importance of children’s games has long been known to mankind.
Archaeologists working in different parts of the Iranian plateau have discovered objects other than everyday tools which are believed to have been used as children’s toys.
According to Prof. Roman Ghirshman, these small objects made by artisans and craftsman of the ancient civilizations, reflect not only the social structure and the daily lives of the peoples but also the religious, private, and military aspects of the corresponding ancient society.
Toys Museum Tehran
Therefore, these small figurines were created in simple forms to meet the daily needs of the population, and probably, besides being used in religious ceremonies and magical endeavors, they might have also served as children’s toys. The climatic characteristics of each community determined the type of materials required for toy making.
Thus, it was through understanding the nuances and subtleties of objects and combining them with their beliefs and ideals that the ancient people created various toys for children to both entertain them and express the symbolic values of their society.
Besides being an item of entertainment creating moments of pleasure for children and adults, sometimes toys reflect the broad ambiance of the customs and beliefs of their corresponding society through their hidden rules and meanings; or are used for educational purposes, as educational tools for teaching skills and conveying knowledge.
Today, people of various societies use toys as objects of education, aesthetics, health and hygiene, technology, economics, musical, entertainment, and more. Toys and items of entertainment given to the children are symbols of real objects which must not only comply with the society’s culture but should also please the child.
They should strengthen and consolidate the values of society and don’t contradict them, because one of the benefits of this alignment of culture and value is to provide psychological and emotional relaxation for the children. Ancient Iranian toys had simple shapes and designs and were made of bronze, clay, glass, or silver.
Most of these toys were used by children of the upper classes. For educational purposes, ancient toys had influenced social, emotional, and physical domains with relative effects on the mental and physical development of those children.