Persian Enamel (Minakari)

The art of Minakari or Enameling is called miniature of fire as well as the decoration of metal and tile with Mina glaze. Minakari or Enameling is the art of painting, coloring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colors that are decorated in an intricate design.

Mina in Persian means heaven. Mina refers to the Azure color of heaven. The Iranian craftsmen of Sasanid era invented this art and Mongols spread it to India and other countries. French tourist, Jean Chardin, who toured Iran during the Safavid rule, made a reference to an enamel work of Isfahan, which comprised a pattern of birds and animals on a floral background in light blue, green, yellow and red.

Some experts link the historicity of enameling in Iran to the Arsacides and Sassanid periods. However, the use of this art in the Islamic period is not clear before the reign of the seventh ruler of Mongol empire’s Ilkhanid division in Iran, Ghazan Khan who introduced Mongol Persia to Islam. Ghazan Khan acquired the science of chemistry in a short period and preferred to use his knowledge and endeavors for the art of enameling. Fine silver is used in almost all enameling because the enamel (glass) melts and sticks better to a pure metal. In simple words, enameling is the process of making metal models and then melting various colors and types of glass on to the model to create an objected art.

In a scientific approach, enamel (or vitreous enamel or porcelain enamel in US English) is defined as the colorful result of fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 degrees Celsius. The powder melts, flows and hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal, glass or ceramic. According to some sources, the word enamel comes from the High German word "smelzan" (to smelt) via the Old French esmail. Used as a noun, an enamel work is a usually small decorative object, coated with enamel coating, such as a   "champlevŽ “  or  a  "cloisonnŽ" .

The paintings or patterns used for enamel works in Iran are traditional designs depending on the taste and preferences of the artist. In the Iranian version of enameling, copper and silver are the most dominant metals used. There are also special tools used in this ancient artistic endeavor such as a furnace, pliers, press machine, brush and so on.

Enamel is usually used to embellish vase, jewelry and candle holder in addition to doors and chandeliers of holy shrines. Isfahan is the most important Iranian enameling hub. Enamel works can be washed with lukewarm water, soap and even ordinary detergents.

Persian Enamel (Minakari):

The art of Minakari or Enameling is called miniature of fire as well as the decoration of metal and tile with Mina glaze. Minakari or Enameling is the art of painting, coloring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colors that are decorated in an intricate design.

Mina is the feminine form of "Minoo" in Persian, meaning heaven. Mina refers to the Azure color of heaven. The Iranian craftsmen of Sasanid era invented this art and Mongols spread it to India and other countries. French tourist, Jean Chardin, who toured Iran during the Safavid rule, made a reference to an enamel work of Isfahan, which comprised a pattern of birds and animals on a floral background in light blue, green, yellow and red.

Some experts link the historicity of enameling in Iran to the Arsacides and Sassanid periods. However, the use of this art in the Islamic period is not clear before the reign of the seventh ruler of Mongol empire’s Ilkhanid division in Iran, Ghazan Khan (694-703 AH) who introduced Mongol Persia to Islam. Ghazan Khan acquired the science of chemistry in a short period and preferred to use his knowledge and endeavors for the art of enameling. Fine silver is used in almost all enameling because the enamel (glass) melts and sticks best to a pure metal. In simple words, enameling is the process of making metal models (fine silver usually) and then melting various colors and types of glass on to the model to create an objected art.

In a scientific approach, enamel (or vitreous enamel or porcelain enamel in US English) is defined as the colorful result of fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing, usually between 750 and 850 degrees Celsius. The powder melts, flows and hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal, glass or ceramic. According to some sources, the word enamel comes from the High German word "smelzan" (to smelt) via the Old French esmail. Used as a noun, an enamel work is a usually small decorative object, coated with enamel coating, such as a   "champlevŽ “  or  a  "cloisonnŽ" .

The paintings or patterns used for enamel works in Iran are traditional designs depending on the taste and preferences of the artist. In the Iranian version of enameling, copper and silver are the most dominant metals used. There are also special tools used in this ancient artistic endeavor such as a furnace, pliers, press machine, brush and so on.

Enamel is usually used to embellish vase, jewelry and candle holder in addition to doors and chandeliers of holy shrines. Isfahan is the most important Iranian enameling hub. Enamel works can be washed with lukewarm water, soap and even ordinary detergents.

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