Persian enamel

The art of Persian enamel (Minakari)

Persian enamel (Minakari) is one of the most magnificent Iranian handicrafts. It is the art of painting and designing and painting metal surfaces by combining bright colors that are used to decorate metal surfaces such as gold, silver, and copper by glazing and fire colors in the furnace. Persian enamel (Minakari) was used with the presence of about five thousand years to be used between different ornaments and dishes. This Iranian art is a combination of fire and soil that comes with painting art and creates beautiful roles.

The studies show that this art was formed in Iran and then went to other countries. Of course, in Europe, ancient works have been found to have very longitudinal. For example, the six-rose gold is related to the thirteenth century BC in Cyprus, a sample of the minakari. Also, about enamel glass glaze on metal; Excavations in Nahavand have uncovered a pair of gold earrings dating back to the 7th to 8th centuries BC.

Persian enamel ( Minakari) -
Persian Enamel (Minakari)

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

History of Persian enamel (Minakari) in Iran in the Sassanid era

A study of the history of Iranian handicrafts shows that Sassanid artifacts discovered in Armenia are housed in the Museum of Islamic Art in Berlin and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The British and French Museums in St. Petersburg’s hermitage museum also have other works of the minakari.

The art of minakari in the Seljukian era

The artistic culmination of this art was during the Seljuk period when the production of brass utensils and enamels was common, and these works were also sent to neighboring countries. One of the most valuable examples of this period is the “Alp Arslan Tray,” which is a silver enamel work and is housed in the Zarifah Boston Museum of Industry. This work was done by a professor named Hassan Al-Kashani, and his name is engraved in the Kofi script.

Types of Persian enamel products

Iranian artist creates different Minakari products, some of the most common of which are:

  • Containers, Minakari vases, bowls, and photo frames. Enamel paintings that combine with other arts such as goldsmithing, inlay work, miniature, jewelry making.
  • Doors, windows, and Minakari shrines worked in religious places, especially the shrine of the Imams.
  • Decorative objects: women’s make-up boxes Iranian enamel, tea and syrup service, hookah, Quran box, mirror, pen, belt, enamel bubbles, rose spray, photo album, dagger sheath.
  • Jewelry: earrings, necklaces, rings, medals.

Minakari Painting

Painting can be started by engraving, first by engraving the main lines of the design and then by painting different parts. You can also paint the design first and then write around it. In enamel paints, there is no white color, and if the use of this color is important, the artist skillfully uses the whiteness of the background glaze, or after painting with a pen, removes the sharp tip of the paint from the background to find the white color of the glaze. ‌‌If there is a gold color in the design, the painting should be completed with gold water at this stage.

Also, in the painting stage, if oils such as glycerin or lavender, or similar oils are used to prepare the paint, it should be placed on an electric stove or a soft flame (alcohol lamp) or by bringing the piece closer to the oven before placing the object in the oven. The oil is extracted in the form of smoke and destroyed. Otherwise, pores may form on the surface of the mina due to the boiling of these oils, and the surface of the minakari may become infected. When painting on enamel, increasing the color causes the work to heat up and break down during the heating process. If the paint is too much on the spot, it must be removed before cooking.

Iranian enamel art

Types of Persian enamel colors

Minakari paints on metals and on pottery are different from each other. The colors used in minakari are categorized in two ways:

  • Based on the source
  • Based on the amount of light passing through

Color preparation

The paints used for Minakari are known as refractory paints and are mainly composed of metal oxide powder. In the past, Mina-Kar masters used to produce these paints themselves but now imported ready-made paint powders are used. To prepare these paints for painting on Iranian enamel objects, you must first mix the Arabian gum solution with glycerin in water in a ratio of 1 to 1, and after placing the desired color powder on the glass and dripping a few drops of the mixture, paint. In fact, a mixture of gum arabic and glycerin solution performs the solvent action of the dye.

If the paint dries, add a few drops of a mixture of gum arabic and glycerin to prepare it for painting. The color powder can be mixed with pine ink or lavender ink and ready for painting. In this case, you should follow the “oil paint” method.

Transfer the design on the glaze

First, the artist puts his desired design, which is usually derived from the role of Khatai, flowers, and chickens, hunting grounds, and face painting, on paper, and then the paper is needlework; Then the ashes are brought to the glazed piece.

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