World crafts – Stone inlay, India

The Taj Mahal, a Wonder of the World (and rightly so), is full to the brim of fantastically detailed work by local craftspeople. One of the crafts, which is kept alive today is stone-inlay work. The sought-after craftspeople spend every Friday working on the Taj itself (as sadly, many visitors still like to steal “souvenir” stones from the building), and the rest of the week they produce pieces for the home, which they sell for a living.

It is a time-consuming and sometimes dangerous craft. Each stone must be filed so precisely that fingers are often injured! The design is marked onto the marble and carved out, the stones are cut to shape, then carefully positioned into each indent. The finished pieces are fine, and particular stones will also allow light through – allowing them to be used as light fittings.

 

Stone inlay work on the Taj Mahal

Stone inlay work on the Taj Mahal

Marking and carving the marble

Marking and carving the marble

Filing and fitting pieces

Filing and fitting pieces

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