Origin: In 1572, Emperor Akbar built the marble tomb of Shaikh Salim Chisti in Fatehpur Sikri. This tomb is the precursor to the era titled Reign of Marble. The accession of Emperor Jahangir created corridors from sand stone to marble. Marble craft reached its pinnacle during the reign of Emperor Shah Jahan. An illustration of the beauty and splendor of marble structure is Taj Mahal built by Emperor Shah Jahan. It is completely made up of white marbles. The walls and ceilings of Taj Mahal are covered with writings of Quran engraved on marble.
Present Day: Since the time Shah Jahan touched Agra it has been a thriving centre for marble craft. Today, craftsmen design a wide range of marble products such as vases, statues, coasters, table tops, boxes etc of the Taj Mahal, lamp bases, flooring, fountains, chairs, water basins, chess sets, and hookah stands.
The tradition of inlay work is carried forward by the humble artisans of Uttar Pradesh. However, today coloured stones have replaced the semi-precious stones.
In addition, there’s a huge demand for mosaic marble. Some of the mosaic marble items are jewellery, trinkets, powder boxes, trays, and tableware like plates, bowls, glasses etc.
Procedure: Creation of marble handicrafts is a tedious and skilled task. Firstly, the right stone or marble is selected. The quality of marble is checked by its density and whiteness. Less porous marbles are particularly used for sculpting and are expensive too. Then, the carver uses his imagination to carve a figure. At times, carvers refer to a model for inspiration. When the carver is ready to carve, the artist starts to peel off large unwanted chunks of marble. Tools used in the process are chisel and claws. A pointed and hefty chisel is used for the purpose of carving. This stage is called roughing out of the stone. The strokes are made with immense care as a minor miscalculation can ruin the design. Marble is a soft form of stone and thus the carving process has to be carried on with utmost care.
Once the general shape of the structure is obtained, then tools are used to refine and define the work. These tools are generally used for adding texture. After this a rough shape of the final figure is created.
Next, the carver uses tools like rasps and riffles to enhance the figure’s shape giving it its final form. Finally, sandpaper is used for polishing the figure whilst giving it a beautiful smooth and complete look.
There is a high demand for handmade marble articles all around the world. Marble handicrafts is one of the handicrafts which is highly requested and acclaimed all across the world. Marble products have huge demand in international market and contribute significantly to the growth of economy and foreign exchange earnings of the country.
Bring Home Marble Handicraft of Uttar Pradesh: You can buy marble crafts from different markets of Agra such as Agra Handicrafts Industries, Creative Crafts of India, Enkay Exports, Handicrafts House, Kamyani Exports Stonemen Crafts India, etc. Also, different state emporiums stock marble handicrafts.