Tuesday, November 13, 2007
India - a land of contrasts...
We were constantly amazed at the craftsmanship that surrounded us. In Jaipur we were particularly taken by the hand work. This first photo is of a person doing block printing. Each color is applied via an individually hand carved block, one color at a time as the printer goes down the fabric, placing each block so as to complete the design. It is amazing how fast they go while keeping each block exactly where it needs to be.
This second photo is of a man making a wool carpet. We were told that this carpet would have about 820 knots per inch and in a 6X9 size would take three people about six months of work to complete. Notice in the photo that the knife is a little blurred... that was because of the speed of movement of the craft person's hand. We saw a silk carpet with over 3000 knots per inch. It was amazing.
One of the distinguishing characteristics of the Taj Mahal, and indeed many of the magnificent buildings of India, is the inlaid marble work. The marble used is among the highest quality available in the world and it is inlaid with pieces of cut semi-precious and semi-precious stones as well as abalone and mother of pearl shell.
One crafts person grinds the stones into the tiny pieces that will fit together to make the design. If you look carefully at the photo, you can see the tiny pieces of orange stone waiting for the rest of the design and further to the left, you can see designs of lapis and shell waiting to be inlaid into marble.
This person is using tiny chisels to cut the indentations into the marble so that the stone and shell pieces can be inlaid. You can see the completed flowers that are already in the table top. The brownish color on the marble is henna to help the worker to see the design on the marble. Because this marble is not porous, the henna wipes right off when the design is completed.
The attention to detail and the beauty of the work really was amazing... No matter what you saw in India, incredible beauty was always close by.