Minakari (Enameling work) Handicraft
Five years ago, before I started Persian Walk, I worked in a company as an engineer. We arranged an important meeting with foreigners. Our company tried a lot to invite a German company to Iran for a big arrangement. I was sent to buy a souvenir. I came up with many ideas about the most appropriate gift for this meeting. Finally, I decided to buy a unique handicraft. I went to a big store in Tehran and caught a glimpse of the pieces of stuff, and I was surprised. “Wow,” what a large number of choices I have!!!!! It was the first time I discovered how many handicrafts are made in Iran!!!
Every corner of this ancient country offers special cuisine, art, culture, and handicrafts. Some of these human arts have been produced in Iran for over 6000 years. I searched a lot and finally decided to buy “Mina-Kari,” which literally means enameling.
Enameling is one of the oldest handicrafts in Iran. Some archaeologists believe that it started in 1500 B.C. in Iran. According to Arthur Pope, who was a specialist in Iranian arts, Iranians during the Sassanian period were very innovative about gem-like objects enameling works, and Khosrow’s cup was one the wonderful samples of them. The golden time of enameling in Iran was related to the Seljuk and Safavid periods in Isfahan, Iran.
Enameling is a handmade art that consists of paintings on a metal object covered by enamel. Enamel is a kind of glaze. Craftsmen mostly use copper and brass as the base metal, but in some special cases, they use silver and gold, too. They use copper oxide, gold oxide, and some mud (Gel Mashi) to produce colors for paintings. The surface of enameling works is anti-scratch because of that glaze, and it reflects the quality of that piece. The artist puts the enameling objects into the kiln several times to make a unique Mina Kari.
These artworks have a variety of prices and designs. Experienced craftsmen with delicate design and coloring create some masterpieces. This is one of the most important reasons for pricing. Finding an appropriate price and high-quality artwork needs some experience, and it’s recommended to find a reliable local shop.