Boat-shaped Mina Kari bowl and plate. Dominant color of this set is deep and light blue and Boteh (paisley ) patterns in red and green color also can be seen which add more to its beauty. Set can be used for serving fruit and nuts.
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Enamel is a brilliant art of fire and soil, whose history goes back to 1500 B.C. According to Mr. Alinaqi Vaziri in the book “General History of Visual Arts”:ornamentation and engraving are one of the Persians crafts in ages past .Metallic containers found in excavation are made of various metals which the most important ones are: gold, silver, copper, bronze, brass, iron, steel, lead, aluminum and chrome. These metals were used to make accessories and different types of dishes, since making necessary tools from a metal sheet was neither impossible nor very difficult. Enamel and Inlay is also a kind of metalworking, inlay is defined as a decorative technique of inserting pieces of various metals into a base object which result in a geometrical pattern.
Studies on enameling shows that Bizans enameling is based on Iranian enameling. The oldest existing examples confirm the claim that the enamel as well as many other arts were first found in Iran, then has made its way to other countries. In the Mongolian era a new method in metalworking and enameling came to existence. Arabic patterns and images were replaced by images and patterns showing portrait and costume of Iranian royals. During the Timurid era inlaying on metal reached its most eastern style. In the Safavid era the patterns used in enameling and metalworking went under change .During the era silver dishes were ornamented with miniature patterns showing banquets of palaces, hunting ceremonies and horse riding. Enameling also enjoyed spiral (Eslimi) and floral patterns and red color became more common. Isfahan was one of main centers of practicing enameling and still it is.
Enamel is naturally transparent, this transparency is the result of tin oxide and its composition has remained unchanged from ancient times until today. Enamel has different steps. The first step is taken by coppersmith, who make targeted dishes in different shapes and measures ,then white glaze is applied to the dish by enamel specialists. process involves applying glaze 3-4 times to the dish and then firing it under the furnace at a temperature of 700.c to make the glaze stable. At this stage painting is done on the dish, then it is fired under the furnace at a temperature of 400-500 B.C.
In the past time, which enameling was not very common herbal a mineral color was used in enameling, but nowadays chemical colors are used in painting enamel works. Three kinds of colors are used in enameling:
Herbal colors used in calico printing
Mineral colors used in painting and enameling
Metalic colors used in enameling
Colors used in enamel is obtained from different sources, red from gold, green from copper ,blue. turquoise and white was obtained from a special color, the color with highest quality was produced in the Samarra, in Iraq. Nowadays enamel is applied to different objects incuding: earings, necklace, make up boxes, cigar boxes, tea services, plate, vase, tableaus which are a combination of miniature, enamel, inlay and gilding, picture frames, pipe, album, candelabrum and mausoleum of prophets.