Meenakari is a traditional art form that involves decorating metal with enamel. This art form pivots around creating intricate and beautiful designs for making jewellery, decorative items, home decor articles, dining sets and much more. The history of meenakari finds its genesis in Persia. In the sixteen century, during the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan’s rule, a member of his court introduced this art form. Initially, the royal workers used meenakari artwork to adorn palace walls, ceilings and doors but gradually, at the behest of the emperor’s wife, artisans started crafting jewellery out of it as well.
Raja Man Singh of Amber has been credited with bringing the Mughal art of meenakari to India at the hands of skilled Mughal artisans from Lahore. To this day, Jaipur prides itself on being a brimming hub for Meenakari. In addition to Jaipur, Delhi, Punjab, Lucknow, Udaipur, Pratapgarh, and Varanasi are also famous for their meenakari artwork. Rajasthan and Gujarat are also renowned for this particular art form. The word ‘Meenakari’ is derived from a Persian word called Minoo, which means heaven. Ornamental use of this art form has often depicted Persian art in itself.
Colours used for Meenakari
The colours or the enamel that is used for filling up the design depressions on metal are not filled with any normal colours. The Meenakari colours are essentially metal oxides infused with powdered glass. The true colour of the enamel comes out once the metal is heated (at 850 degrees Celcius). Artisans or meenakars often rub the designed metal with some tamarind or lime to enhance the colour of the enamel.
Characteristics of Bridal Meenakari Art
When it comes to bridal jewellery, meenakari art is hands down the most distinguished and highly preferred art form. The value in terms of the pricing of bridal meenakari art is anchored to the choice of metal that is used for enamelling. If gold is used as a base metal, then the pricing will surge. If silver or any other metal is used, the pricing will be relatively lesser. In addition to that, the choice of stones which are used to embellish the enamel design further also contributes to the cost and makes meenakari ornaments all the more exquisite.
Process of Making Meenakari Art
Meenakari essentially done on a metal which is called ‘chitras’. The artisan who makes intricate meenakari designs are called ‘Meenakars’.
The steps involved in making meenakari art
- The designer or the Nacquash begins by making a design in the form of depressions on the metal that has to be enamelled.
- After that, the artisan fills in the base with white or pink enamel.
- Then, various other colours are applied depending upon the design and requirement.
- Usually, five colours are applied to the engraved design.
- In order to intensify the appeal of the enamel, the metal goes through intense heat.
- Finally, the metal is polished for finishing. The artisan can choose to apply heat on the design further to polish it.
- The article can further be adorned with the use of precious or semi-precious stones to give it more beauty.
Meenakari Art Products
Meenakari paintings have been amongst the oldest expressions of this art form. These paintings are popular because of their intricate designs and use of beautiful colours. Unlike conventional paintings, meenakari paintings are done on metal or ceramic. After the designing and enamel application, the paintings are heated to properly set the colour on the artwork.
Many home decor items and artefacts are made using this art form. A unique collection of meenakari art products like the meenakari royal blue swan set handle, meenakari white swan hand enamelled set in metal and various other products.
A Meenakari jewellery is a rage amongst the brides and it is an essential part of a family’s heirloom too. By virtue of their precise designing and traditional appeal, this kind of jewellery is in a lot of trend these days. When combined with stone carving and Kundan work, the jewellery pieces become very awe inspiring. There are various pieces of meenakari jewellery like earrings, bangles, kadhas, necklaces etc.