minakari the Art of Soil and Fire

Introducing the art of minakari or enameling

In this article, we want to introduce you to another handicraft belonging to the land of Iran.Minakari (Vitreous enamel) is a very old art that has a long history not only in ancient Iran, but also in Europe

This art is five thousand years old and is used to decorate dishes or other things. For example, six gold rings decorated with Minakari were found during archeological excavations in Cyprus. These rings belong to the thirteenth century BC. Another example is the statue of Zeus in Greece, which dates back to five hundred years BC. In Iran, archeological excavations have found a pair of earrings in Nahavand area, the date of construction of which is estimated to be about seven hundred years BC. A bracelet made of gold and decorated with this art from the Achaemenid period is also housed in the Victoria Museum in London.

Historians believe that the heyday of this art in Iran dates back to the Seljuk period. During this period, it was common to decorate metal utensils made of copper, gold and silver with this art. Enameled plates from the Sassanid era are also housed in the Berlin Museum of Islamic Art as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.


Manufacturing methods

Method 1:

In this method, a series of very thin wires are used. First, the wires are shaped based on the design, and then glued to the piece to be decorated. It is then covered with glass glaze. In the next step, this piece is placed in the oven and heated to 1000 degrees Celsius. This heat causes the wires to weld to the object. In the next step, special minakari paints, which are in the form of powder, are sprayed on its surface. Putting the dish back in the oven for about 3 minutes, wires made of brass change color at the temperature of the furnace and need to be returned to their previous state later using acid. This method is more common in Isfahan and Tehran provinces.

Method 2:

In this method, a copper or brass container is made according to the desired design and then the this process is performed on it.These dishes are glazed in three or four stages and heated to 700 degrees Celsius. In the next step, the masters paint on this white object and put it back in the oven. Today, chemical dyes are used to design objects, and in the past, plants pigments were used. This art is usually applied to copper utensils.

minakari art

How to recognize the quality of minakari

 In order to be able to distinguish the quality of an this product, you must pay attention to the following points

  • it should be uniform and integrated and should not have excess parts
  • The support surface of the container must be perfectly smooth and even
  • it glaze should be free of any cracks, cuts, bumps, bubbles and cavities or roughness
  • The concentration of this glaze should be the same and uniform at all work surfaces and have a diameter (without protrusions)
  • The surface should have sufficient brightness and have transparency, gloss and polish, which has the mentioned materials, which indicates a good color and proper heating
  • The thickness of the paint in painting and decoration should be uniform and also the colors used should not be integrated in the border of the designs.
  • The designs must be of Iranian origin
  • In painting and engraving, elegance in work and accuracy in execution must be considered
  • The back of the  minakari object should have a quality glaze without scratches
  • Like any other product and work of art, work must have a code, the name of the artist, the date and place of production
  • Today, the art of Minakari is still considered a glorious and valuable art, and its production of dishes is possible through online operating systems
  • If you are interested in arts and handicrafts, in the next articles we will introduce you to other aspects of Iranian art and culture. Follow us.



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