Mina’i wares: Discovery of a 13th century Islamic ceramic transfer technology

John Hirx


Mina’i polychrome ceramics were made during the 12th century in Iran. The majority of these pieces are glazed white colored ceramic bodies with figures that are normally thought of as painted enamels. Examination of many of these wares shows that they are made by means of a transfer technology in which ceramic images are made by creating an image separately from the ceramic, then transferring the image onto and firing that image onto the ceramic surface.

Ceramic transfer technology has been attributed to the English who are traditionally credited with inventing this technology in the 18th century. A survey of wares in various national and international collections has demonstrated that mina’i is the earliest known example of ceramic transfer technology.

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2002 | Miami | Volume 9