Decorative enamelling consisting of fusing a glass-like coating onto a metallic surface has long been a traditional craft in Isfahan. Mina-kari in Iranian defines the art of applying a glassy, multi-coloured coat, stabilized by heat to a usually copper object.
This art-form goes back to the Achaemenid and Sassanid dynasties, but few ancient specimens remain because of the fragility of the material. Of the remaining old examples of enamel, most date from the Qajar dynasty 1810-1890 AD in the form of jewellery – earrings and bracelets, and some vases and plates.
Enamellers, taking inspiration from flowers and birds or from architectural details such as iwan and cupola continue their artistic creation today making boxes, dishes, plates and vases, and jewellery items and picture frames for example.
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