About: Mina'i ware

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Mina'i ware is a type of Persian pottery developed in Kashan, Iran, in the decades leading up to the Mongol invasion of Persia in 1219, after which production ceased. It has been described as "probably the most luxurious of all types of ceramic ware produced in the eastern Islamic lands during the medieval period". The ceramic body of white-ish fritware or stonepaste is fully decorated with detailed paintings using several colours, usually including figures.

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  • Mina'i ware is a type of Persian pottery developed in Kashan, Iran, in the decades leading up to the Mongol invasion of Persia in 1219, after which production ceased. It has been described as "probably the most luxurious of all types of ceramic ware produced in the eastern Islamic lands during the medieval period". The ceramic body of white-ish fritware or stonepaste is fully decorated with detailed paintings using several colours, usually including figures. It is significant as the first pottery to use overglaze enamels, painted over the ceramic glaze fixed by a main glost firing; after painting the wares were given a second firing at a lower temperature. "Mina'i" (Persian: مینایی‎), a term only used for these wares much later, means "enamelled" in the Persian language. The technique is also known as haft-rang, "seven colours" in Persian. This was the term used by the near-contemporary writer Abu al-Qasim Kasani, who had a pottery background. This technique much later became the standard method of decorating the best European and Chinese porcelain, though it is not clear that there was a connection between this and the earlier Persian use of the technique. As in other periods and regions when overglaze enamels were used, the purpose of the technique was to expand the range of colours available to painters beyond the very limited group that could withstand the temperature required for the main firing of the body and glaze, which in the case of these wares was about 950 °C. The period also introduced underglaze decoration to Persian pottery, around 1200, and later mina'i pieces often combine both underglaze and overglaze decoration; the former may also be described as inglaze. Most pieces are dated imprecisely as, for example, "late 12th or early 13th century", but the few inscribed dates begin in the 1170s and end in 1219. Gilded pieces are often dated to around or after 1200. It is assumed that the style and subjects in the painting of mina'i ware were drawn from contemporary Persian manuscript painting and wall painting. It is known these existed, but no illustrated manuscripts or murals from the period before the Mongol conquest have survived, leaving the painting on the pottery as the best evidence of that style. Most pieces are bowls, cups, and a range of pouring vessels: ewers, jars, and jugs, only a handful very large. There are some pieces considered to be begging bowls, or using the shape associated with that function. Tiles are rare, and were perhaps designed as centrepieces surrounded by other materials, rather than placed in groups. Mina'i tiles found in situ by archaeologists at Konya in modern Turkey were probably made there by itinerant Persian artists. Sherds of mina'i ware have been excavated from "most urban sites in Iran and Central Asia" occupied during the period, although most writers believe that nearly all production was in Kashan. (en)
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  • Richard Piran (en)
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  • McClary (en)
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  • Mīnāʾī ware (en)
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  • 2021 (xsd:integer)
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  • Mina'i ware is a type of Persian pottery developed in Kashan, Iran, in the decades leading up to the Mongol invasion of Persia in 1219, after which production ceased. It has been described as "probably the most luxurious of all types of ceramic ware produced in the eastern Islamic lands during the medieval period". The ceramic body of white-ish fritware or stonepaste is fully decorated with detailed paintings using several colours, usually including figures. (en)
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  • Ceramica mina'i (it)
  • Mina'i ware (en)
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