Meenakari (Minakari) is the art of coloring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colors that are decorated in an intricate design. Mina is the feminine form of Minoo in Persian, meaning heaven. Mina refers to the Azure color of heaven.
Enamel working and decorating metals with colorful and baked coats is one of the distinguished courses of art in Isfahan. Mina is defined as some sort of glass-like colored coat which can be stabilized by heat on different metals particularly copper. Although this course is of abundant use industrially for producing metal and hygienic dishes, it has been paid high attention by painters, goldsmiths and metal engravers since long times ago. In the world, it is categorized into three kinds being: Painting enamel, Charkhaneh or chess like enamel, Cavity enamel.
Ancient Persians used this method for colouring and ornamenting the surface of metals by fusing over it brilliant colours that are decorated in an intricate design and called it Meenakari. The French traveller, Jean Chardin, who toured Iran during the Safavid reign, made a reference to an enamel work of Isfahan, which comprised a pattern of birds and animals on a floral background in light blue, green, yellow and red. Gold has been used traditionally for Meenakari Jewellery as it holds the enamel better, lasts longer and its lustre brings out the colours of the enamels. Silver, a later introduction, is used for artifacts like boxes, bowls, spoons, and art pieces while copper which is used for handicraft products was introduced only after the Gold Control Act, which compelled the Meenakars to look for a material other than gold, was enforced in India. Initially, the work of Meenakari often went unnoticed as this art was traditionally used as a backing for the famous kundan or stone-studded jewellery. This also allowed the wearer to reverse the jewellery as also promised a special joy in the secret of the hidden design.
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