From here onwards, ‘the gift galore’ will invade, butt-in and interrupt my all other blogging topics. With Christmas around the corner, and a much awaited birthday (of a girl who will turn 25 this January, 12th), there remains much to display and feel lucky.
Do you remember my post entitled ‘The Taj-Mahal’? Where I mentioned about a gift from R that I was awaiting? I’ll begin my gift galore section with this. R got me this beautiful marble inlay box from Agra, the inlay of which is a replica of what’s found in the Taj Mahal. Inlaying: what an interesting process!
Taj-Mahal was built in 1653 by Shahjahan, the 5th ruler of the Mughal Empire, for his beloved Mumtaz-mahal, on the banks of river Yamuna. A romantic setting per se, folklore goes that the Taj Mahal looks its best and alive on a full moon night!
The process of inlaying marbles with precious stones or gems to create an image or design as found in the Taj-Mahal or, to speak of, in almost all Mughal monuments, is called Pietra Dura or Parchin Kari. Considered as a decorative art, Pietra Dura typically follows the following process:
- The design is etched
- The stone work is assembled loosely
- The stones are glued to the substrate
- The stones are sliced and cut in different shape and sections
- Assembling and polishing so that the contact between each section is negligible.
- Grooving of the undersides for maximum stability.
And perhaps that is why, a marble inlay table top approximately takes 6 years to get completed! Think it’s tedious? I say that is art. Beyond the reach of ‘just anyone’, beyond erosion, eternal and never passé! Passed on to the next generation from the previous, marble-inlaying makes Agra, a must visit, apart from the Taj Mahal- that till date remains the biggest achievements of the Pietra Dura artisans.
Thank you R, for two wonderful slivers of eternal art to ponder on. You are such a great man. How you always know what I’ll love!