Espad Land

"Enameling": Mina Kari

Vitreous enameling (porcelain enamel)

Vitreous enameling is an art derived from the essence of humanity and impregnated with the Iranian multi-thousand-year-old culture known that his birthplace is Isfahan. This five-thousand-year-old art can be found in a series of kings including the Achaemenid. They use designs on metal surfaces such as copper, gold, silver and today's copper, in the creation of this beautiful art. What is seen above as an art of Vitreous enamel is the design with colours that are cooked in a furnace and heated to a temperature of 750°C. However, before reaching this stage, along path goes from coppersmithing to Toreutics and glazes and furnaces.

The most used of this artificial art can be the manufacture of boxes, plates, pots, mirrors, etc. Among them, the production of enamel dishes is more than other items.

History: Vitreous enamel, or mina-sazi that have a history of about five thousand years ago, and its invention dates back to the Sassanian era. In the past, Vitreous enamel has been used for a variety of purposes such as jewellery, boxes and containers (such as plates and tun and cup and snuffbox ...). But this jewellery and containers were used exclusively for the use of royal and aristocratic families. Because most Vitreous enamels were made on metals such as gold and brass, which are so expensive.

Vitreous enamel types

The enamel is divided into three types by design type:

1.khane-bandi enamel (Malileh-enamel)

2.Embossed-Background Enamel (Engraving)

3.Painting enamel

Background and colours material

Currently, the background of vitreous enamel is made of copper in most workshops. In some cases, brass is also used. Some manufacturers of jewellery also use vitreous enamel to make silver and gold jewellery. The colours used in Vitreous enamel are mostly mineral.

Colours and motifs

Vitreous enamel is used traditional designs such as Arabesque, Khata’i, flowers and chicken and their combination. Whatever the design is more elegant and more colourful, it will have more valuable. Sometimes even some of the work will cost more because of the use of a special colour, such as some red or purple sub-collections; because gold is used to produce these colours.

What are the points to consider to buy Vitreous enamel?


Smooth and shiny surface


Designs and motif

Product ID

One of the factors to consider when buying Vitreous enamel is the Vitreous enamel weight.  Plate, pot, chocolate bar, etc., that you intend to buy, should not be light. (By comparing several similar examples, you will notice the weight of each product.) If the Vitreous enamel is light, its shape and form will easily change with a slight amount of pressure and loses its appearance.

Smooth and shiny surface

Another feature of the quality of the Vitreous enamel dishes and shapes is its smooth and shiny surface. This index reflects the high-quality Glaze of vitreous enamel dishes. The bitterness and dark surface in vitreous enamel has somewhat important reasons. The first reason is the material of the colour of the enamel, which is used in the production process. If the professional glazing is done and used well material, the enamel surface will be completely glassy and polished.


There are different colours in the art of Vitreous enamel, which is better to combine some of them together to make them beautiful and also fit different temperatures.

Azure blue color


Green color

Yellow color


Turquoise color

Brown color

Black color

Golden color

But most people know Vitreous enamel in the colour of Azure and Turquoise. For the preparation of red, they are used dissolved gold, in addition to Borax and sodium carbonate, and to prepare the green colour they are used copper plus lead chromite. And for the preparation of yellow, the combination of iron, chromium oxide and tin oxide is used, and in any case tin oxide is used to clarify the glazes.

Designs and figures

Patterns in Vitreous enamel containers usually follow a pattern. The paintings used in Vitreous enamel are generally made of traditional designs such as:



Chicken and kata'i

Flower and bird


The face

Historic Buildings

Some of them have more figure and some of them have lighter designs. Obviously, the more complicated the motifs are, the more valuable the result because the artist has spent more time on it.

In the production method, the enamel is divided into several categories:

Embossed-Background Enamel (Engraving)

A method in the Vitreous enamel that carved the images and lines on the object and then fills the gaps created in this way with coloured glazes and placed in the furnace with sufficient heat.

khane-bandi enamel or Grid

Grid enamel is an old method known as the "wire enamel" and is used from very thin wires. Wires are transformed into desired shapes. And put on a piece of work with glue, cover it with a glass Glaze. Then it is placed inside the furnace with a temperature of about 1,000 and the wires are welding into the workpiece. In the next step, the special colours of the Vitreous enamel (powder shape) fill the surface of the work. After that the surface of the have work been uniform and smooth, it is placed in a heating furnace of about 1000 degrees for 3 minutes.

khane-bandi enamel is common in Isfahan and Tehran, but at present, the only khane-bandi enamel workshop is at the Cultural Heritage Research Institute, which teaches this art. "Black Enamel" is a kind of "khane-bandi enamel", also known as "Saiban Enamel". This method of Vitreous enamel is carried out mainly in the south of the country and especially in Ahwaz.

Painting enamel

In this way, which is common in Isfahan today, the background of the copper sheet is covered with white and dense enamel. After being baked in the Furnace, they paint with enamel colours. Painting with enamel colour is done in two ways:

The first method is to mix the colours that are very soft powder, with water and a little glycerin, and solve it on a glass sheet or agate by special spatula, then, like the usual water and colour painting, pictured the desired pictures with this colour.

The second method is that instead of mixing the enamel colours with water and glycerin, they combine it with the extract of pine or lavender ink and act in the manner of oil-based painting.

Enameling art includes the use of a variety of mineral glaze for decorating metal parts and utensils. Most of the infrastructure is made of copper enamel or rarely brass. In some cases, for making enameling jewellery, this is done on gold. A copper infrastructure is coated in the preparation stage three times by kaolin glaze and cooked in the furnace to give a completely white and uniform glaze, and then begins to paint on this background with a handmade colour.

The enamel colour combination is often made up of various metal oxides with a special type of fastener. After painting the artwork of enamel is cooked in a furnace, and depending on the colour, the furnace temperature is adjusted to obtain the desired colour and the glaze of the enamel does not burn. In the old days, chemical paints are used for colours of dishes and other enamel objects.

Enameller used gold oxide, to make the red colour, copper oxide for making green and blue colour and dark khaki for making the yellow colour. From the Safavid era, Arabesque traceries and Khat'ai flowers have been abundantly used in enamelware, but today miniature designs have also become popular and used in enamel style. In terms of infrastructure, there are many variations in the work of enamel, and they are produced in different forms and for different uses of objects, panels and Plaque of enamel. Enameling is one of the unique arts of the Isfahanian artists, which offers a variety of products by combining enameling art with other fields such as goldsmiths, Inlay.

The art of copper Burnish is also from enameling that has attracted the attention of craftsmen in recent years.