Marble Crafting in Uttar Pradesh comes from heart, art, and history. It is an art that had been passed on over six centuries. An invaluable skill that is still preserved by some passionate artists whose endeavour is to keep the art form alive. It is much more than an art form whose melodious whirring brings the lifeless figures to life.
It was in the seventeenth century that the Mughals introduced in India the fine art of marble inlay called as ‘Parchin kari or pietre dura. This decorative art is actually a technique of using cut and fitted highly-polished coloured stones to create images.
Though less known during the earlier times, the art of Parchin kari was made prominent in the country by the famous Mughal Ruler Shah Jahan who envisaged the decoration of the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World today, by this exquisite craftwork. Really, so vast was the vision of the Emperor that it took 20,000 highly skilled master craftsmen and 22 years to comprehend his dream. And these specialized craftsmen, who took this mammoth task of constructing and decorating the Taj Mahal, were none other than the proficient artisans from Persia who were expert in this fine art of setting gems and semi-precious stones in marble.
Since Agra was the capital of the authoritative imperial courts of the East and a huge hub for scholars and artisans those times, the majority of the master artisans chose Agra as their second home. Consequently, from that time this fine art has become an integral part of the cultural heritage of Agra and is carried on even today by the generations of the great craftsmen who gave the world a matchless iconic structure, Taj mahal -‘ a love poem in marble’.
Nowadays, the artisans present the wonders of same inlay work for your interiors. They capture the beauty of the Taj Mahal as inlay designs on White Makrana Marble & Kudappa Black stone to guard the royalty of the Great Mughal era.
In order to add a new colour to your home decor and enhance your lavish lifestyle, the imperial craft is transformed to Marble Inlay Table Tops, Tiles, Floorings, Stairs, Borders and Panels etc. Indeed, the outstanding marble crafting that is visible in the intricate carving on the forts and palaces, today brilliantly create articles like marble boxes, wall plates, coasters, and ashtrays inlaid with semi-precious stones and mother of pearl in pleasing pietra dura designs. The other marble products available in the region include mirror frames with lace like fringes, fretwork balustrades, bowls, garden furniture, and the like.
Besides, the inlay work on marble with the colourful and precious stones to form a multitude of mosaics is another specialty of the town. A wide variety of structural pieces are produced like lattice windows, mirror frames with lace like fringes, richly carved brackets, canopies with elegant pendants, fretted balusters, large basin with filigree rims to float flowers and many other lovely and useful items. As among the distinguishing characteristics of the Taj are the incomparable mosaics. Against its milky white surface, are in-set abundant coloured stones to form a multitude of mosaics, said to contain 42 varieties. Striving to equal the excellence of the unique mausoleum, the artisans, today, create exclusive items in mosaic marble that are placed in the trendy house to suit the decorative purpose, such as- jewellery, trinkets, powder boxes, elephants and other animal forms, trays, and tableware like plates, bowls, glasses etc.
Interestingly, the most important fact about this art is that till now the adept craftsmen of this industry here use the same kind of tools as used in 16th & 17th century for this work. Also using the same sort of stones, which are not only genuine but they give real look of past era.
Today, the land of the Taj possesses a flourishing industry of Pietra Dura artefacts, the art regarded as ‘painting in stone’; the art that is certainly beyond what the modern technology can comprehend.
So next time when you come here to see the marvellous wonder, don’t forget to appreciate and take home the relics made up of this intrinsic art of marble crafting.