Meenakari: What does it mean:

I am sure, you must have heard the word Meenakari. If you are a Jewelry fan, chances are you already have some kind of collection of Meenakari Jewelry. Meenakari is a style of art originated in Persia.  The word Meena came from a Persian word “Meenu”, meaning the azure color of heaven. This is really true.  Vibrant colors are main these of Meenakari arts.

It is an art where a metal surface is painted with brilliant colors. The metals once colored are taken to a kiln to harden the paintings. With the presence of heat, the colors get fused into the metal.

 

Meenakari Art during Moghals and Rajputs

Meenakari art form brought into India by Persian enamelists during the Mughal era at 17th Century primarily to Varanasi. Raja Mansingh  of Rajasthan later called Meenakars from Lahore to Rajasthan during his time. Those days, this Persian craft was originally used to create designs on the back of traditional polki jewelry.  The Meenakars finally got settled at Jaipur and thus Jaipur became the hub of this art.  However, as the craft flourished under Mughal patronage, it became a design of its own and led to something called reversible jewelry.

 

The traditional Process of making

Meenakari is a complex Art form, the process of Meenakari remains the same as it was 500 years ago! Even today, a Meenakari artefact goes through the same assembly line of craftsmen as it used to go through hundreds of years ago. The process starts with the designer (naquash), then goes to the goldsmith (sonar). It is then passed on to the engraver (kalamkar) who engraves the design, then the enamelist (meenakar) applies the color. The artifact then goes to the polisher (ghotnawala), then the stone-setter (jadia), and finally it goes to the stringer (patua) for the final touches.

 

The Metals used in Meenakari

Meenakari Pendant

Traditionally Meenakari Jewelry is made on the Gold surface. But in today’s world, not everyone can effort it. Also for all practical purpose, Meenakari art, primarily the jewelry are being made of other non-costly metals too. Meenakari work on German Silver, White metals are very popular. You can buy some of them from our Bhavna Art Boutique.

Meenakari art, in general, is durable. That is why you see them in almost all the places like vessels,  Home decor materials, and many other places. Meenakari jhumkas, Meenakari Bangles, Meenakari Painting are very very popular.

Meenakari can be found in three types: Ek rang khula Meena, Gulabi Meena and Panch Rangi Meena. In Ek Rang Khula Meena, only single color being exposed while in Panch Rangi Meena, you will see five colors: Red, White, Dark and light blue and Green. Gulabi Meena comes from the Varanasi school where Gulabi or pink is the dominant color.

 

Maintenance of Meenakari

 

Though Meenakari is durable, still you should maintain them. A simple cleaning with dry clothes should be enough for long life.  You should also take special care to metal that is used in an art piece,

 

See how Meenakari Painting being done: