The Taj Mahal rises from the haze of Agra as though from a dream. It attracts tourists to Agra like moths to a wondrous flame. It feels as if it’s a castle brought down to Earth from heaven and fixed for ages. Even though Agra is synonymous to Taj, there’s more to the city. The Mughals reigned Agra for almost 200 years and thus, the city is a testimony for their great architectural activities. Agra is one of the few cities of India which has three of its monuments under the UNESCO heritage sites, namely, The Taj Mahal, The Agra Fort, and Fatehpur Sikri.
The ancient history of Agra demands the advocacy and patronage of the great architecture of the city. The most revered and treasured monument of love, The Taj Mahal is a fine example of the beauty of marble. Agra is famous for the marble carvings and the marble inlay work. Agra and Rajasthan are the 2 places in India where marble work is carried out. While Rajasthan is famous for making table tops and wall decoratives, Agra is famous for its
The advancement of Marble-inlay work in India
During the early 17th century, the inlay work was done on various precious stones and was called
Prachin-Kari or marble-inlay work involves manual labor with the delicate process of cutting and engraving marble shapes. It is usually done on pre-defined floral or other designs already engraved on the marble and then marbles or gemstones of different colors are cut to the exact shape to fit these grooves. The beauty of the marble-inlay work is sure to make anyone’s heart skip a beat. India not only has every kind of marble but also the skilled artisans to make beautiful products with it.
About Meenakari and undercut Jali Work
Meenakari is the fusion of colored materials like copper oxide (for green color) and cobalt oxide (for blue color) to give colors to metals or stones
Jali is the term for perforated or latticed screen usually made with an ornament or using geometry and calligraphy. The designing of products in the pattern of Jali is called Jali-work.
From Marbles to Products
Marble is known for its softness, homogeneity and relative resistance to shattering. Blocks of marbles are transported from mines and are then cut into equal pieces by craftsmen using diamond blade marble cutter.
An electric lathe is used to cut the block of marbles into the desired shape. A power drill is used for fine carvings or a chisel and hammer, depending on the usage. The surface is smoothened using a metal file after which it is sanded with emery stone and is then ready for surface work.
After that, the sculpture is thoroughly washed to get rid of any extra dust and then the required motifs are drawn on the sculpture and are then carved and painted using Jali-work and Meenakari.
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