Minakari or Enamelling is the art of painting, 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.
The Iranian craftsmen of the Sasanied era invented this art and Mongols spread it to India and other countries. French tourist, Jean Chardin, who toured Iran during the Safavid rule, 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.
Now after a few years of stagnation since 1992, this art has started to continue its briskness having a lot of distinguished artists working in this field. To prepare an enameled dish we should make the following steps:
The process of making Minakari is not very complicated. First, a metallic substrate like copper, silver, or brass is chosen and shaped by an expert coppersmith. This layer is the base of enamel. In the past, the enamel had been applied to tile, ceramic, or glass, but nowadays copper is more often used because it is malleable and flexible. A new and first-hand copper layer is better than a recycled one.
Then, the body is covered with a white glaze using the dipping technique. Next, it is heated at a maximum temperature of 750°C and the body is recoated with a higher quality glaze and heated again.
This function is usually repeated three to four times. Generally, the enamel glaze is made of silicon, magnesium, potassium, lead, precious stones, feldspar, kaolin, zirconium, boric acid, and tin.