As you know the marble art is famous from the Mughal period which glorifies the beauty of Indian culture, so let us explain the detailed history of white marble inlay handicrafts and explore how to make marble products in different regions of India.
Nowadays Pietra Dura is a beautiful marble semi-precious stone that began in the workshops of Florence in Italy around the end of the 16th century, Pietra means (stone) and Dura means (hard) this marble is widely used to make marble inlay handicrafts in India. Another reason we use Italian marble is for its durability and purity. Pietra dura appeared on a range of objects from decorative panels to hand-carved birds to flower motifs to cabinet fronts to tabletops which enhance the pietra dura art.
Types of Italian Marble
There are three most common types of Italian marble.
- Carrara- It is available in white or blue-grey marble for use in home decor and also used in taj mahal work for its construction. Carrara is located in the Italian province of Massa-Carrara and in the region of Tuscany in north-central Italy, in the foothills of the Apuan Alps. This stunning natural stone is white and gray and features elegant grey veining.
- Calacatta- It is a distinctive white Italian marble with gray and gold veining used to make tabletop inlay work. Calacatta marble is mainly used in interior applications where it is very visible. Projects such as entrance or foyer flooring, wall coverings, and kitchen tops are the most common marble inlaid. This Marble is associated with luxury due to its rarity and unique, distinctive appearance.
- Statuary- It has a pure white background and elegant grey veins across the stone, This marble is also used to make marble inlay table tops and flower vases. This marble is a very bright white in color, and it is relatively rare.
Stone of Afghanistan – Lapis Lazuli
The term Lapis Lazuli originates from Afghanistan which was separated from India in 1893. Lapis Lazuli is widely used for marble handicrafts and It is a rock formed by multiple minerals, mostly Lazurite, Sodalite, Calcite, and Pyrite, and is a rich medium to royal blue with gold flecks (pyrites). It comes under Metamorphic Rock. Lapis Lazuli comes from many different corners of the world including the mystic corners of Afghanistan, the Ancient Roman shores of Italy, the new worlds of the USA, and the wine-soaked lands of Chile.
These are two regions of India widely famous for marble handicrafts and embroidery work.
First of all, we talk about the hub of marble handicrafts which is Agra- the Taj city of India, situated on the riverbank of Yamuna, Uttar Pradesh. It is world-famous for its beautiful handmade products with different craftsmanship. Frame Marble, Inlay work, carpet weaving, Zardozi (embroidery), paintings, calligraphy, textiles, etc are the famous crafts of the city. There are 12 units in the Agra district that come under minor & major medium industries.
Famous handicrafts style in Agra
Mirror Work– This work is an ancient craft that is also known as ‘sheesha’ or ‘abhala Bharat's embroidery. Indian artisans quickly excelled at the craft, and over time, motifs evolved to reflect the indigenous cultures of India. Mirror work as we know it today originated from 17th century India.
Zardozi- Zardozi's work is a metal thread embroidery that is a specialty of the city of Agra. It was once used to embellish the ensemble of the kings and royals. The richest embroidery of India is the Zari and the zardozi, which is known since the late 16th century. This art form was introduced in India by the Mughal invaders
Moreover, walls of royal tents, wall hangings, scabbards, and paraphernalia of regal horses and elephants were also done in zardozi. Zardozi has existed in India from the times of the Rig Veda and there are numerous mentions of zari in the attires of gods. However, at that time, the embroidery was done with real gold leaves and silver wires. Today, copper wires with a golden or silver polish are used along with a silk thread. Two Persian words ‘zar’ meaning gold and ‘dozi’ meaning embroidery make up the word ‘zardozi’