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You are here: Home srcm Indian Wood Inlay Posted by SRCM for india4you.
Indian Wood Inlay

Indian Wood Inlay / Marquetry is the art of making decorative designs with different inlay materials like wood, shell, synthetic materials etc in a wood surface. This art of inlaying different materials (colors) into the wood is present in many parts of the world, however India has a very unique style of executing this craft

This traditional craft was brought to India from Persia in the 18th century and flourised in Srirangapatinam under the patronisation of Tipu Sultan and subsequently the Wodeyars who had Mysore as their capital. Beautiful wood carvings with inlay work adorn the temples, royal homes and palaces of the time.
This technique was used to create intricate designs on God and Goddesses wood carvings, elephants carvings, doors, jewelry boxes, etc.Large wall panels of Gods and Goddessess, themes from the Ramayana and Mahabarata, Royal processions, tranquil and picturesque landscapes were crafted with beautiful precision using the inlay technique.

Traditionaly ivory and bone were used in the original crafts, however these are replaced in current compostions with various woods, shell and fibre boards. Althought there maybe changes in the inlay material, the laborious techique as well as the distinct characteristics of the composition remains the same, earning this craft a GI (Geographical Indication) tag
  • The most commonly used woods are maadi, lac,champa, dark red rosewood, yellow fanas, Craftsmen also use fibre boards in various colors as an alternative to wood to reduce on cost

  • Craftsmen enjoy making beautiful landscapes, using diferrent tones of wood and material to highlight the light and dark areas, the shadow areas. The textures of the leaves, bark of trees, the skyscape, the landscape every detail is highlighted by using the light and dark shade effect. So creative is their style that the settings of the composition can be determined as sunrise, daylight or sunset depending on the color selection of the woods and the effective manner in which they are placed in the composition

  • Elephants are most often depicted in white, the royal elephants truck decoration is depicted most often ornamentally

  • This techique has a grand impact when incoporated into the making of the mandaps/mandirs. The delicate carving and the inlay designs capture the very soul of the craft

  • Wall panels of Hindu Gods, Goddess and Saints are much sort after in this technique. The compositions have a serene and soothing effect and showcase well in Puja rooms and living rooms. Common themes are Ganesh, Lakshmi, saraswati, Balaji, Ashta Lakshmi. In large size wall panels Ram Durbar, Geetopadesha, Ram Lela, Krisha Lela, Royal processions are much sought after. Thers is so much graduer in these compositions, and it is no wonder that it captured the interest of the royal and is still a much sort after craft
Making of Indian Wood Inlay
Stage 1
  Selecting the composition and tracing the design onto the board clearly pre determining and demarcating the shape and position of the various colors of wood

Choosing the different wood colors /other materials of inlay and cutting them to the required shape. The pieces of wood are fitted into each other maintaining the pattern, like a jigsaw puzzle
Stage 2
Stage 3
  Embedding the cut pieces of designs step by step into the board.
Stage 4: The Inlay Procedure
Cutting designs to required shapes and colors
  The different wood and synthetic color boards are traced with the required designs and cut to shape using an electrical machine
The wood ( in the composition ) where the design has to be inlayed is scooped out
  Design area after completion of the scooping would look like this
The design is embedded firmly into the scooped area and pasted using a strong adhesive
Design is gently beaten into the wood to ensure it is inlayed firmly into the wood
Nails Hammered into the edges and design left to dry for 24 hours
Design cleaned 24 hours later
Stage 5 - The engraving and Polishing Process
Engraving intricate details on the inlay namely the eyes, patterns on the clothing, ornamentation etc
Black Bees Wax applied highlighting the engraved details
The excess wax is being scrapped off
Final Optic
  This process needs to be repeated for each and every inch of the composition after completion of the inlay the wood is given a glossy lacquer coating providing the required luster and sheen to the composition
Posted by SRCM for india4you.
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