Mas­ter crafts­man demon­strates an­cient Per­sian enam­el­ing tech­nique

Muscat Daily - - MUSCAT FESTIVAL - Zain al Tauqi

The mi­nakari cre­ations on display at the Ira­nian pav­il­ion at the Amerat Park are grab­bing eye­balls. The glo­ri­ous handicraft is a tech­nique of paint­ing the sur­face of met­als by glaz­ing colours and fire in a fur­nace.

Is­fa­han born Hos­sein Peikam is keen to share the tech­niques he has ac­quired from 30 years of ex­pe­ri­ence with fes­ti­val­go­ers. The in­tri­cate flo­ral de­signs he paints on cop­per ves­sels are mere mi­crons. Clus­ters of del­i­cate brush strokes which seem to be done with no rhyme or rea­son form ge­o­met­ri­cal shapes when put to­gether.

To show the qual­ity of the enamel on his fin­ished pieces which range in price from a cou­ple of ri­als to RO7,000, Peikam en­er­get­i­cally runs a metal nail along the sur­face of his works, prov­ing they are highly scratchre­sis­tant.

“I was born in 1968 and trained un­der Ah­mad Peikam and Morteza Es­maeily. I am proud to have had the op­por­tu­nity to carry on mi­nakari tra­di­tion which is one of the old­est and most beau­ti­ful crafts of Per­sia.”

An en­thu­si­as­tic Peikam ex­plains the process. “In or­der to pre­pare an enamel work, se­lect cop­per re­cep­ta­cles are cov­ered in kaoli­n­ite [clay min­eral] and baked three times. Af­ter each glaz­ing, the pieces are put in a kiln. This cre­ates a smooth white sur­face to paint on. Af­ter the paint­ing is fi­nalised, the piece is put in the kiln one fi­nal time at no less than 600°C. Is­fa­han is con­sid­ered to be the most im­por­tant cen­tre for the pro­duc­tion of high qual­ity enamel in the world,” he said.

While the tech­nique of enamel-on-metal has been adopted by other coun­tries, Ira­nian mi­nakari al­most al­ways heav­ily fea­tures the azure shade of blue. Mina, the fem­i­nine of mi­noo in Per­sian lan­guage and tra­di­tion, refers to the azure shade of heaven.

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