History Enamels

History Enamels

Esfahan is know everywhere as “half of the world”, and is among the few cities whose historical and cultural building invite on to a pleasant journey along history.

 No outstanding works remain today to be used as a reference on the pre-islamic  Esfahan , but the word Esfahan or sefahan , which is the Arabic from of the word sefahan-derved  from sepah [army] plus the suffix –an-showing that , in the past Esfahan was a place for soldiers. This city has undergone many historical ups and downs. In the arsacide (ashkani) period, it used to be the capital of a vast state ; in the Sassanid period, it was dominated by the Espuhars who were one of the seven Iranian greater families who lived in this city ; at a time Yazdgerd  III sought refuge in it, after defeat by the Arabs; and, finally, in 23 A.H., after a severe battle, Esfahan was conquered by Arabs and was under their rule until the beginning of the 4th century in the reign of Mansur the Abbasid Caliph who made great at-tempts to develop the city ; then in 319 A.H. , the Ziarid Mordavij took back Esfahan from Arabs and chose it as the capital of his kingdom and magnificently celebrated the Sadeh festival. In 327 A.H.L., Esfahan was conquered by Roknoddoleh  Deylami and become , once again, the capital city for another Iranian commander and king , which helped Esfahan regain its splendor.

 In the reign of the Seljuk Malekshah, Esfahan was on more selected as the capital city and yet another golden era began.

 With the asvent of the Mongols, however, in 639 A.H.L., the city was assailed and entirely runed, but the people of this land reconstructed it with perseverance and determination. However, a short time later  , the bloodthirsty army of Tamerlane slaughtered the people of this land were alive and rebuilt the sity again.

 But the flourishing era of Esfahan wad yet to come; this period began when the city was selected as the safavid capital in the reign of king abbas I in 1000 A.H.L.. of course, later on, ot the time of afghans and in the reign od Zellossoltan, son of Nassereddin shah, Esfahan got into danger again, but Esfahan had recovered so Even the acts of Zellossoltan in covering the ornamental walls and selling the lands and building in covering the ornamental walls and selling the lands and building material of the historical edifices with plaster could not make Esfahan decline. Esfahan continued living and turned into the half of the world, remained Esfahan , and became the cultural capital of the Islamic world; ir remained Esfahan and became the pride of Persia. No, it remained not just Esfahan. Esfahan means Iran. Esfahan means all our cities and villages, and Esfahan means the outspoken history of our land.

 The history is always written by the conquerors.

 But can the self-evident history, namely the works and edifices remaining from our ancestry, be written by conquerors?

And of today, we seek pride and find identity in the works and edifices inherited to us from our ancestors, and edifices of art they created. One of these incomparable and lasting arts is the art of enameling . Some people wrongly believe it to be the art of earth and fire, but this is the art of love, and the fire of this art, which reached its heights in the seljukian era, and flourished in safavid era, is still burning, and Esfahan is the only city in which this art is thriving and its enamellists create their uniqe and everlasting pieces of art.

The creation of these pieces of art symblilzes the relationship between the created and creator, felt in the disposition of mankind. Therefore, one of the amazing secrets of the genesis inherited inside man, is the artistic and aesthetic attitude. That is why man is always searching for these sense of beauty and seeks to develop creativity. God has endowed all beings with this sense of beauty but each person develops and materializes it. The artist, with his or her delicate and sensitive soul, is looking for beauties and subtleties in the depth of the created world, and in the art of enameling, too, things are the same. The enamellist paints and draws all of his or her internal feelings on the containers and vessels, and hands them over to the fire so they get perpetual.

There are different definition for the art of Enameling [Persian:minasazi]. The Dehkhoda Persian Dictionary goes :

“Mina is a material made of glass and dark blue porcelain which is applied on metal , etc, and decorated with painting; also it is the name of a bird from the passerine order,starlings family, the size of a starling; there is also a white, rather big flower called mina”.

This art goers back to 1500 years BC, and one can say that it highly flourished in iran, during the seljukian and safavid era, especially in the safavid era, when the art of enameling, like other arts, was flourishing  and the enamel shapes, especially the Natural Bird and Flower designs were manifested on the red backgrounds, and the material used for glazing and painting was prepared by grinding different stones, consequently, the enameled objects were small and usually were used in the belts and shoulder belts of swords, as well as dress ornaments. One of the most exceptional features of the Enameling art of this period is the use of red or crimson color in the enamel background which survived until era of Qajar- but, at present, most of the enamels are done on a blue or cyan background. After the world war II, because the European countries made great achievements in the glazing technique, the enamel glaze was brought to iran by a German Colonel called  Chaunemann. This made the artists able to enamel bigger vessels. Artists such as the late Master Shokrollah Sanizad, the late Masein Feiollahi, Master Hosein and Mehdi Qaffariyan made great attempts in the growth and flourishing of this art

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