Meenakari Work

Meenakari Marvels: Exploring the Timeless Beauty of Enamel Art

What is Meenakari?

Meenakari designing involves the process of coating grooves or engravings with colored enamels. A wide variety of metals, including ceramic tiles, brass, copper, silver, and gold, can be used for Meenakari designing. The jewelry showcases depressions with popular designs, animal figurines, or images of gods and goddesses. The goal is to create the appearance of a picture.  

The look of the pictures is enhanced by filling the enamels, providing vivid clarity to the theme based on the designed grooves. Meenakari is utilized to express various themes and occasions beautifully, giving them an exquisite look—an applauded feature that distinguishes it from other techniques. 

The Origin and History of Meenakari 

Historically, Meenakari work originated in Persia and later found its way to India through the Mughal invaders. Over time, it became closely associated with the culturally vibrant state of Rajasthan, largely thanks to Raja Man Singh of Amber, who played a key role in establishing skilled artisans brought from Lahore.  

Today, Jaipur stands as the hub of Meenakari work, and craftsmen from Jaipur are renowned for their production. Meenakari in gold is primarily done in Jaipur, Benaras, and Delhi. Silver enameling or Meenakari is mainly done in Udaipur, Bikaner, and Nathdwara, while glass enameling is carried out in Pratapgarh. 

The Making of Meenakari 

Meenakari involves the artistic fusion of individual pieces made from colored glass powders. Craftsmen use various mineral oxides to achieve distinctive colors. Besides glass, the powder of various semi-precious and precious stones is also employed in the coloring process. 

Faces Behind the Work 

Artisans producing Meenakari work are known as Meenakars, and their craft is hereditary, passed down from one generation to another. A single piece of Meena work undergoes several hands for perfection. The process involves various artisans with specific functions. The designers or the Nacquash, followed by the 'Sonar' or goldsmith, create the initial design.  

Next is the work of the 'kalamkar' or the one who engraves the designs, followed by the Meenakar or enamelist. The product is then polished by the 'Ghotnawala' or the polisher and passed to the 'Kundansaaz' or stone setter. Finally, it goes to the 'Patua' or the stringer. Each artisan plays a crucial role in the chain.