MinaKari of Isfahan

Introduction of MinaKari (Enameled) of Isfahan

MinaKari of Isfahan is one of the traditional arts of this city which is inherited from previous generations. People who work in this industry are professional to combine their creativity with a great art. MinaKari (enameled) of Isfahan is a great Iranian art to make nice handicrafts. Different products made of gold, silver, brass, and copper are painted and designed by Mina colors. Then they are put in the furnace to be heated. This art goes back to 1500 B.C. and at the moment various products such as plates, vases, frames, doors, windows, ornamental devices and jewelries are considered to be painted by Mina colors. Isfahan minakari is best Persian Handicrafts. Different materials are used to make red, yellow, and green colors. Mina which literally means heaven in Persian is a shiny coating which can be remained on metals by hot temperature in furnace.

Minakari or Enameling of Isfahan is one of the traditional arts of Iran which has a lot of fans in this country and other countries. A lot of people use products made by this art to decorate their houses or for their personal usage. It is important to pay attention to the quality of these products and protect them to have them for a long time.

Mina Kari of Isfahan

MinaKari (enameled) has various colors such as black, gold, cyan, green, yellow, azure blue and reddish purple; but Mina Kari (enameled) of Isfahan is mainly known because of azure blue and turquoise or cyan. Mina Kari (enameled) of Isfahan has nice traditional symmetrical patterns with designs of religious domes, flower and chicken with a floral background and arabesque. If the designs on a product are complex, the value of this Mina Kari (enameled) product will be increased. You should remember to wash this product with water and a soft cloth in order not to be scratched and hit. MinaKari of Isfahan make with hands.

Mina Kari of Isfahan

Enameled of Isfahan

History of MinaKari (Enameled) 

Enameled of Isfahan is well-known all over the world because of its beautiful designs and calm colors. These patterns are taken from special ancient designs which could be seen in the mosques. MinaKari (enameled) of Isfahan is also known as the art of fire and soil because the tiles used in religious domes of mosques and the metals used in different products are glazed by Mina colors. The word Mina refers to the nice azure blue color of heaven. This beautiful art is invented in Sassanid era and it is transferred to India and other countries by Mongols. A tourist found a Mina Kari (enameled) of Isfahan in Safavid Era which had a flower and chicken design with different colors of light blue, yellow, red, and green.

Some research shows this art went back to the Arsacides and Sassanid Eras; while, there is no enough document to show the availability of this art before Ilkhanid Era in Iran when Ghazan Khan introduced Mongol Persia to Islam. Ghazan Khan learned chemistry and used this knowledge to make the art of MinaKari (enameled). Previously, fine silver was used for Mina Kari (enameled) because the colors will be melted on the metal in a really good amount with high temperature.

Some MinaKari (enameled) dishes which went back to Sassanid Era were found in Armenia; and are kept in Berlin in Islamic Arts Museum. Another traditional handicraft made by this art is a pair of earrings which are found in Nahavand, Iran. It is estimated they were for 700-800 B.C. Moreover, an Achaemenid golden bracelet which was designed by MinaKari (enameled) art is kept in London in Victoria and Albert Museum. MinaKari of Isfahan is very beautiful.

Isfahan art

Development of MinaKari (Enameled)

Isfahan art is not only famous among Iranian people but also people with different nationalities are familiar with it. Delicacy, beauty and precision are important factors to make a memorable piece of art. Painted enamel is one of the oldest types of Mina Kari (enameled) of Isfahan which is kept in Iranian and foreign museums. As the handicrafts made by this art are sensitive, there are not many of them remained from Achaemenian and Sassanid Eras. In next eras, such as Seljuk, Safavid and Zand, more magnificent handicrafts are produced while the most MinaKari (enameled) dishes are related to Qajar Era during 1810-1890 A.D.

A lot of fabulous handicrafts such as vases, earrings and golden dishes painted with nice green and blue colors are remained from those days. During the First World War and social revolution, this art stopped developing for about fifty years; while, in 1935, a professional master of MinaKari (enameled) of Isfahan, called Master Shokrollah Sani’e Zadeh, made some dishes with different colors especially, the red Mina colors. Different geometric designs and patterns are painted on metals to show the main belief originated from the dominance of Mithraism Era which was concentrated on Mithra, the sun. MinaKari of Isfahan is an Iranian art.

Mina Kari of Isfahan
Mina Kari of Isfahan

Enameled Handicrafts

Enameled handicrafts are one of the undeniable parts of every Iranian decoration because they are a symbol of art and culture for every person. A variety of instruments are used during the process of making MinaKari (enameled) products. Some of them are press machine, brush, plier and a fine pen.
In order to paint different products with a variety of colors, the following chemicals are needed:
• In order to make a white glaze, tin, lead crystal and flint are needed.
• For making turquoise color, tin, lead crystal, flint and copper shingle are used.
• To make yellow, iron oxide, tin oxide and lead oxide should be mixed.
• Black needs iron oxide, manganese dioxide, lead, and cobalt oxide.
• To make red violet color, crystal, ammonium nitrate and dissolved gold should be provided.
• For making green, some amount of copper shingle, flint glass (stone), and lead chromate is necessary.
• To make brown color, some chromium oxide green, iron oxide and zinc oxide should be combined.
• Blue color requires cobalt oxide, zinc oxide, and flint to be made.

Various designs in MinaKari (enameled) products are painted based on the master’s taste and preference. Popular Iranian Mina Kari (enameled) mainly uses copper and silver because Mina paints can be shown on them well. Isfahan is the center of this art which can be seen in different door and windows of holy shrines of this city. Previously gold was a more popular metal because of holding Mina colors; but copper is a well-known one at the moment. MinaKari (enameled) is categorized in three types around the world. They are painted enamel, cavity enamel, and Charkhandeh (Khanebandi) or chess-like enamel, which are generally used to paint different products according to their usage and shape.

Isfahan Souvenir

Process of Making MinaKari (Enameled)

Isfahan souvenir is not limited to one or two products because every region of this city has its attractive handmade products which can be considered as the great souvenir for people who live in other countries and want to have a memorable and traditional piece of art. MinaKari (enameled) of Isfahan is a beautiful art which has some steps to be made as the following:
• Copper is shaped by the professional master.
• A white glaze covers the copper products.
• The copper product is kept in a furnace with high temperature of 800 degrees centigrade.
• A higher quality glaze covers the product and it will be heated again.
• This process repeats for three or four times.
• Professional master paints and designs the product with Mina colors.
• The copper product with Mina paintings is kept in a furnace to make the colors stable.

Mina Kari of Isfahan

As Minakari is a traditional art of Isfahan, a lot of handmade products of this art can be seen in the market. Minakari plate is one of the most practical enameled products of Isfahan which has both decorative and practical usage. You can buy a MinaKari vase or a MinaKari panel as a gift to someone who you want to appreciate. An enameled sugar pot can give your home a special feeling of calmness.

Quality and Famous Brands

Some factors influence the quality of different products made of MinaKari (enameled) of Isfahan. The most important factors are the following ones :
• Appropriate selection of metal
• Correct and precise decoration and design
• Standard amount of heat
• Skill and accuracy of the master

If the mentioned factors are considered in making MinaKari (enameled) products, a high quality handicraft will be made. These days, a lot of workshops in different cities of Iran make this handicraft; but the high-quality ones are those which are made in Isfahan. There are some famous masters, who produce high quality products with their brands in Mina Kari (enameled) of Isfahan and some of them are introduced :

• Master Morteza Esmaeili

• Master Asghar Madah Alhusseini

• Master Gholamali Feizollahi

You can take a look at the bottom or behind the product to see the seal and signature of the masters to be sure of the quality of the product. They do not let the MinaKari (enameled) handicraft enter the market if it does not have the highest quality.

How to Protect MinaKari (Enameled) Handicrafts

Taking care of MinaKari (enameled) handicrafts is an essential task because it leads to having them for a longer time. There are some points which should be kept in mind:
• If the decorated surface of the product is separated from the body because of hit or pressure, it should be repaired. If not, it may results in separation of the whole surface.
• You should wash a Mina Kari (enameled) handicraft with water and a soft sponge. You should not use chemical detergents and rough cleaners to wash this product because they damage it.
• Every hit and pressure will damage the colors and decorative designs of the dish; therefore, more attention should be paid to it.
• If you want to use a wet cloth to clean dust out of the dish, it is advisable to use a dry cloth after that in order to make it shiny.

If the above mentioned points, you can be sure of keeping this MinaKari (enameled) handicraft for a long time. Mina Kari (enameled) of Isfahan is a very prosperous art which is known in Iran and other countries. Their beauty and art are attractive for every person and they can be used as an ornamental device in showcases and traditional or modern decorations; and it can be used as a practical device for serving guests. MinaKari (enameled) of Isfahan has a lot of products such as; plates, vases, sweet dishes, fruit dishes, sugar pots, frames, panels and a lot of other products which can be bought with the best quality for your personal usage or as a gift to your loved ones.

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