The Art of Marble Inlay

Art is that powerful form of expression that knows no boundaries, no geographies and no limitations!!

Marble 1

The Art of ‘Marble Inlay’ originates from the Mughal Inlay Art and blossomed beautifully in the age of Mughal Empire. The Marble Inlay Art is indigenously identified as ‘Pachchikari’ or ‘Parchinkari’. It implies the delicate and exquisite process where marble is inlaid with designs in precious or semi-precious stonework. This form of Art is peculiar and one will find it only in Agra and parts of Rajasthan in India. The skilled workers (‘Karigars’) carve incredible designs with their hands and it takes months to complete a piece, and in the process the Karigars survive injuries to the fingers. There is huge demand for the end products in foreign markets and the range of the sale price depends from piece to piece.

Marble 5

This one needs no introduction 🙂 The Miniature Taj Mahal looks so impressive.

The Origin

The Monuments of Agra showcase the different development stages of Mughal Inlay Art in a progressive sequence spanning from 16th to 17th century as practiced under Akbar (r. 1556-1605), Jahangir (r. 1605-1627), and Shah Jahan (r. 1628-1658). However the Marble Inlay Art evolved and progressed during the reign of Jahangir, the application of same can be seen in the monuments that were completed in the period of his reign.

The Inspiration

It is believed that the inspiration for this form of art was drawn from the distinctive monuments of Mandhavgarh in Madhya Pradesh. Mausoleum in the Ashrafi Mahal and the Tower of Victory in Mandu are the earliest examples of inlaying with rare stones in Mandu and their construction dates back to first half of the fifteenth century though the Asharfi Mahal is in total ruins today.

Jahangir had interests for fine arts and cultural activities. Jahangir encouraged and promoted ‘Marble Inlay’ art and its application can be seen in Jahangiri Mahal to Akbar’s Tomb and then in Tomb of Salim Chisti and Itmad-ud-Daulah’s tomb in Agra.

Today, Marble Inlay art is integral part of Agra’s heritage and its presence can be widely observed in the forms of Tabletops, Lamps, Miniature Elephants, and Miniature Taj Mahal and possibly everything that one can imagine.

So, next time you’re in Agra, do visit a workshop if possible, you’ll be amazed at the process and do pick a beautiful souvenir.

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Categories: Art and Culture, Experience, India, Inspiration, Interests, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

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48 thoughts on “The Art of Marble Inlay

  1. Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

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  2. those designs are so beautiful…… I have seen Taj Mahal being sold at many places in agra……

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    • The miniature form of Taj is very popular among the tourists. It is the table tops and other designs that are more intricate and cost more too. I had a privilege to visit the workshop and observe the process of how it’s done, it’s just remarkable.

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  3. Beautiful

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  4. Indeed beautiful!! Reminded me of my agra trip!! I had bought a beautiful marble box with this amazing inlay….

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    • Thank you! I’m glad to know you had a beautiful experience. The Taj Mahal is so favorite 🙂 even in miniature forms.

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      • Yes it was a wonderful experience…i didnt want to come back i remember!!!! Wished to stay and watch in full moon light!! So serene and captivating!! And soothing to the senses…have you seen it in full moon light? After that i we drove to fatehpur sikri and it was beautiful!! Will go again someday!

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      • But u thought they don’t allow people to stay beyond 7.30ish or 8 max… I have witnessed Taj Mahal in Sunset but not so lucky as far as other monuments are concerned.

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      • Sorry typo. .. Was writing ‘I thought’

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      • I think on full moon nights they do allow some batches in….you have witnessed it at sunset!!! Wow…im already trying to imagine how you must have felt!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderfully informative post. We learned so much. What a talent to be able to do something like this. I know how difficult it is to do when doing woodwork but working with stone is another level of gifts. Thank you.

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  6. I am thrilled just by reading this post. There is so much creativity that goes into making a great piece!

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  7. Absolutely beautiful, my friend! I love your photos of these masterpieces of inlaid marble. I bet one might find a bargain in one the shops in Agra.

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  8. Quite an informative post accompanied with beautiful pics!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Interesting!

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  10. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. WOW! Such beautiful artistry. Thank You for sharing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great information. I’ve seen this artwork displayed in shops at Agra, but had no idea about the process or history.

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  12. Just. So. Beautiful 🙂

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  13. It was really an amazing read, when you know the history behind a certain thing it becomes more interesting.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great article! Very well described. To visit more wonderful tourist destinations around Agra or any other place. Book taxi service or cab service now at ganraj Travels at very affordable cost. You can select your customized package. Hurry up!
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  15. Oh this is so cool! I’ve never seen anything like this before, but it looks incredible and I would love to see some of these works of art in person one day! 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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  16. Charu, years ago when we lived in London, we visited India and Agra was one of the highlights. We fell in love with the inlaid marble and we bought a small, hexagonal tabletop much like the ones you show in this post. Through many years of simplifying and downsizing, we still have that lovely piece. Thanks for this post that tells some of the history. ~James

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  17. Beautiful work, thanks for sharing

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