What is Enameling or minakari?
Minakari or Enamelling is the art of the earth and fire. An illustration in which the passion and restlessness of the enamel artist for the sake of creating beauty turns the untouched, crude and harsh metallic material into a piece of art flourished with patterns and images. This art, which can also be referred to as “the miniature on fire,” is used for the ornamentation of the jewelry, dishes, and other objects and has a background of over 5000 years at its back.
Enameling or the art of drawing on iron and metal is one of the most idiosyncratic branches of handicraft art originated from Isfahan. It is usually performed on copper but can also be applied onto other metallic materials such as gold, silver, bronze, metal, etc. Some of the experts believe that it was the Iranians who created this art for the first time and the exported it to other countries.
What is its application?
Wall hanging plate, Tableware, jewelry, kitchenware
- Tea set
- Flower Vase
- Chocolate dish
- Candy Dish
- Nut dish
- Fruit dish
- Photo frame
- Mirror frame
- Jewelry like rings, earrings, bracelet, necklaces
- Jewelry box
- Mixed minakari and khatam tableau
- Hubble bubble designed with enamel minakari art
The Stages of Making Enamels
The very first stage in the art of forming enamel work is making the metallic base-work or infrastructure during which the metallic layers are transformed and worked out into the desired object. Then, the etching master prints and carves the desired images on purpose and forms its edges into various forms such as crenate or dentate and smoothens out the body of the object. The next stage is then started which is for glazing the enamel work.
This is stage is quite delicate and sensitive in the whole enamel working process. Enamel glaze is the essential material applied in the enamel art. It has a peculiar density in the room’s temperature and if exposed to heat will turn into a rough cloth and takes a transparent and glass-like form.
After such stages as cleansing and burnishing, through several steps, the objects are glazed out. At each stage, with the objective being exposed to high-temperature heat, these glazes are glued onto the objects more firmly. After that, the phase of sketching out beautiful images and patterns on the work that is supposed to turn into enamel at the end starts. These images are then completed with attractive colors which are entirely gained through herbal sources but, these days, and some use chemically produced colors on enamel works as well.
At the last stage, when the drawings created on the surface of the objects is over, the enamel artist puts the object on Aladdin gas lamp to evaporate the poisonous materials left as the effect of the coloring process for some time and then again puts the work into furnace and bakes it in a temperature varying between 800 to 900 centigrade. In so doing, the colors are fixed and become glimmering and lustrous. After that, the enamel work is ready to be sent out to the market for sale.
A Guide on How to Purchase Enamel Work
Despite Khatamkari, enamel work has some prominent features that can help you know when you see a quality artwork. If you pay enough attention, it’s not that hard to tell a good Minakari:
Check the metal base. A quality Minakari has a thicker one, which ensures more durability. Since in enamel work, the drawings are done on a glazed out surface, first and foremost, what matters is the thickness of the metallic object. The thicker the metal used in an enamel work is, the task itself will be more robust and more resistant.
The glaze used on the product is supposed to be smooth and unleveled. Those products that have been glazed for several times can cover the underlying metal better and thus have a higher quality in comparison with the one-time glazed works. The enamel works in whose manufacturing transparent coloring materials are used are considered more valuable in comparison with those that are colored with dim-colored material.
If the brushes used for drawing images on the enamel work are smaller and have a more productive variety, the product will have a higher quality compared with those products that are produced by thicker brushes.
Notice the white parts. There isn’t any white color in Minakari, so those white parts are the base enamel I explained above in painted Minakari. It is smooth and completely white, with no trace of the underneath metal sheet showing, then that means it’s been enameled not once but several times. Also, that’s a good thing.
Colors are also a good hint. Bright colors are much better in quality than matte ones.
Look at the patterns. Delicate, small and orderly patterns mean a more attentive and meticulous work. The miniature design is also prettier than a big, coarse one. So if you have two choices on your hand and one has smaller flowers, that’s the one you would want to take home!
Where Can I buy Minakari?
Armita Handicraft can provide you any minakari item with high quality at a good price.