The Treatise "al-Durra al-Meknuna" the Oldest Written Document on the Luster Enamel - Journal of Research on Archaeometry
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year 5, Issue 1 (2019)                   JRA 2019, 5(1): 179-185 | Back to browse issues page

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Shokrpur S, Mirshafiee M. The Treatise "al-Durra al-Meknuna," the Oldest Written Document on the Luster Enamel. JRA. 2019; 5 (1) :179-185
1- Tabriz Islamic Art University ,
2- Tabriz Islamic Art University
Abstract:   (2828 Views)
The first manuscript which has been identified in the technology of making luster glaze (enamel) is the book Arayes al-Javaher. This book was compiled by Abulqasim Abdullah Kashani in 700 AH and was very effective in making the luster glaze at that time, and introduced for the first time to the world in 1313 AD. The book Javaher Name-ye- Nezami was then introduced as the oldest and most detailed historical written document on the luster glaze, where more than 26 luster formulas have been included in the book. This valuable book was compiled in 592 AH by Mohammad ibn Abi al-Barakat Neyshabouri. Previously, it was believed that Javaher Name-ye- Nezami is the oldest written document on the luster enamel. But, the emergence of book of Jaber ibn Hayan, called al-Durra al-Meknuna in recent years, by Ahmad Yusof Alhasan, revealed correctly how the father of chemistry, Jaber, deals with luster enamel formulas. He was undoubtedly the source of chemical knowledge for other scholars in later centuries. It is very important that the emergence of glass in the second century was coincided with the emergence of the painted luster glass. At the moment, the manuscript al-Durra al-Meknuna was the oldest written document on golden-colored paintings (luster enamel), where it had widespread formulas in this field. This book also contains more formulas about the luster enamels than other historical books and can be important in terms of the origin and nature of the luster -plated technique. The treatise can be divided into four main themes. The first is on the manufacture of coloured glass. The second is on lustre painting of glass and the third is on the colouring of gemstones with descriptions of two furnaces for this purpose. The last one is concerned with the treatment of pearls and gives recipes for glues and other related materials. On the other hand, the treatise contains 118 recipes for talawih (lustre painting of glass), in addition to nine recipes inserted by the editor, al-Marrakishi. However, other books have limited number of formulas, for instance, Arayes Aljvaher and Javaher Name-ye- Nezami have two and thirty formulas, respectively. In a typical process described in the book, metallic ingredients, mainly burnt silver, burnt copper or copper compounds, iron and its compounds and cobalt blue, plus other materials such as cinnabar, magnesia, realgar, orpiment, sulphur, and vitriol, are pulverised individually in vinegar or citron juice and mixed together. Glass articles such as cups are painted and decorated by the colouring mixture and are then introduced into the smoke chamber in the oven. When the cups become black, they are withdrawn and allowed to cool. Then, they are washed until the colour appears, while by introducing them again into the fire, the colour intensifies and changes. Sometimes they are introduced into the fire once again and the colour becomes brighter. The furnace designed in the book is a type of traditional wood burning stoves, where it has four shafts and a fireplace chamber. Inside it, there is a relatively large chamber for the arrangement of ceramic products. In the upper part, there is a circular door that houses the entrance and exit of the furnace to arrange the products. This kind of furnace has been widely used in most regions of Iran. In relation to the term “Zarrin fam,” various items have been mentioned in the literature such as glaze, enamel, ink, talawih, luster, gold glaze, felez fam (metal fam), but in this research, the term “enamel” has been used. The book “al Durra al-Meknuna” has several formulas, so it is recommended that these formulas to be tested on glass and glaze in the future.
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Technical Note: Book Review | Subject: Archaeometry
Received: 2019/05/12 | Accepted: 2019/05/26 | Published: 2019/07/1 | ePublished: 2019/07/1

1. Hayyan J ibn. Kitab al-durra al-maknuna. B.N. MS Arabe; 6915.
2. Al-Hassan AY. An Eighth Century Treatise on Glass. Hist Sci Technol 2009.

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