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What is Marble Art

The art of inlaying marble arrived in India from Europe four hundred years ago. The Mughal Emperors of North India had been gifted some pieces of Pietra Dura by visitors from Europe. They were fascinated by the beauty of this art form and immediately set upon adapting it to their tastes.

These rulers of India were masters of incredible wealth and resources - they invited some of Europe’s premier marble artists to India to train the very best craftsmen that the kingdom had to offer. The success of their venture was further assisted by the fact that there was an abundant supply of arguably the world’s finest marble (Makrana) near the Mughal capital of Agra.

This combination of factors resulted in the creation of some of the world’s finest marble architecture and art over a remarkably short period. The greatest example of this is the Taj Mahal; one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

When you take a close look at the Marble Art we sell, you will be amazed at the incredible detail and complexity of craftsmanship. A 24 inch diameter tabletop often has over 3000 pieces of individually shaped semiprecious stone used for inlay.

Marble tables offer a unique combination of being a functional piece of furniture as well as a masterpiece of craftsmanship. We offer these tabletops by themselves or with bases. Bases for smaller tables include hand hammered iron bases (by local Central Texas Ironworkers) & cast iron pedestal bases, both of which have been attached to the marble table top with the help of hand shaped mahogany plates. There are also fabricated and coated metal bases for midsize and large table tops.

An Eastern Masterpiece has created a new masterpiece of our own - exquisite inlaid marble tops that are offered as Lazy Susan’s & Vanity Susan’s. With the assistance of an accomplished Central Texas woodworker, we have joined dual mahogany discs (with the mechanics in-between them) to smaller inlaid marble tops and plates. Some examples of these are available on our website.

Marble Elephants are excellent examples of another ancient art form. They are hand sculpted in Makrana marble with incredible detail and polished. The art is encrusted with a large number of brilliant zirconia pieces. Different artists then take over and embellish the piece with layers of thick gold leaf paint to complete the process.

An Eastern Masterpiece specializes in high quality marble vases. After the vases are drilled by machine, they are meticulously shaped by hand. Many of them are then embellished with scores of brilliant zirconia. The final process includes hand painting with gold leaf and other mineral paints. The beauty of the Marble Vases we offer is timeless and its value will appreciate for future generations. An Eastern Masterpiece offers Marble Art that is meant to be:

• Art that will transform its environment.

• An heirloom that can be passed on to family members.


The Finest Marble Art

Like all the artwork that An Eastern Masterpiece offers, creating one of our Marble Inlay Artworks is a long and extremely time consuming process for the skilled craftsmen that we work with. It is a craft that has been passed on from generation to generation and the pieces we offer are created by artists with decades of experience.

When you take a close look at the Marble Art we sell, you will be amazed at the incredible detail and complexity of craftsmanship. A 24 inch diameter tabletop may have 3000 pieces of individually shaped stone used for inlay. An 8 inch high Makrana elephant with gold paint and inlays may weigh well over 20 pounds.

Inlaid marble is a very popular luxury item in India and many levels of quality, both in the materials and in the craftsmanship, are available. Marble & Marble Inlay are terms that are often used loosely by people selling items that have just one or more feature in common with what an Eastern Masterpiece offers as a Marble Inlay Item. Here is what is usually offered in by the low cost retailers -

1. The quality of material will be nowhere close to what you will experience with our Marble Art – look for flaws and discolorations in the base marble itself, and also look for cracks and chips in the inlaid stones.

2. Only retailers a lot more expensive than us will come close to what we offer in terms of craftsmanship. Get a close up view of the details in the inlay – make sure there is consistency and balance in the design of the inlay.

3. Even the best atists will damage some pieces while they are going through the various processes. Like us, the best manufacturers and retailers will refuse to carry such a product. But small dealers and others will buy these damaged pieces for a fraction of what an unblemished piece costs and then retail it to someone who chooses to go for the lowest price.

4. A Marble Artwork Piece from An Eastern Masterpiece will bring timeless beauty to its surroundings – some will bring a rich elegance to a room, others will liven up a room with their colors, while a few can dominate a room by their majestic presence. The marble tabletops offer a unique combination of being a functional piece of furniture as well as a masterpiece of craftsmanship.

Each Marble Artwork creation is a piece of art as unique as the spirit of its creators. According to Eastern belief, the stones that are inlaid into the marble each have a quality and influence that they bring to their environment. Some of them promote good health, others good fortune. Some will enhance marital bliss while others will increase fertility or the chance of success in a new venture.

Some natural stones that are used for inlay in Marble:

1) White Jasper
2) Chocolate Stone
3) Green Marble
4) Sang-a- Mariam
5) Tiger Stone
6) Red Jasper
7) Lapis
8) Green Aventurine
9) Brown Bidasar
10) Black Onyx
11) Yellow Aventurine
12) Green Bidasar
13) Yellow Bidasar
14) Cobra Stone
15) Malachite
16) Ruby
17) Jaiselmer Red
18) Dark Green Bidasar
19) Creama Marble
20) Jaiselmer Yellow
21) Alikantak
22) Green Laventure
23) Torques (Firoza)
24) Amethyst


Artwork Subjects

Marble Inlay Art from India traditionally relies mainly on South Asian floral designs. Lately a few geometrical and European patterns have been introduced into the mix. An Eastern Masterpiece carries these traditional pieces along with contemporary designs that we have had commissioned exclusively for us. These include designs of Indian origin such as classical dance figures.


Ethical Sourcing

There are a large number of organizations that sell Marble Inlay Art in India and unfortunately most of them do so while exploiting the craftsmen by paying them too little for their efforts. They also source the cheapest materials, using cheap marble and other materials rather than the premier materials that adorn the art that An Eastern Masterpiece offers.

Our liaison office in India is directly involved in the creation of the art and we are thus able to actively uplift the artists and their families by letting them share in the earnings generated by the sale of their creations.


The Creative Process

To begin with the artist starts by shaping the marble to the shape of the artwork – a (round, square, rectangular, octagonal) tabletop, bowl, vase or sculpture. The piece is then hand polished till it is smooth and has the surface sheen desired for the end product.

The artist then hand cuts the inlay design pattern into the marble slowly and carefully. He then chisels (using very fine instruments) the pattern into the depth needed for the groove that will accommodate the inlay.

Pieces of various stones are then manually sanded and ground to achieve the shapes and sizes required fitting into the pattern. Tiny pieces are glued together to form the shapes of petals and other design objects. These are then gently pushed into the grooves in the base marble.

Some Marble Art may also get painted and embellished in other ways. Real gold paint is often used for more expensive pieces.

An Eastern Masterpiece offers Marble Art that is meant to be both art that will transform its environment, as well as a heirloom that can be passed on to family members. The beauty of the Marble Art we offer is timeless & its value will appreciate for future generations.


Click here to view a sampling of our inventory

 

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The Arboretum, Austin, Texas, USA  
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