Monday 1 July 2013

No, It is not a painting

When I first saw this wall hanging I thought that it must be a painting. But I was surprised when told that it is not a painting at all but a wooden inlay art wall hanging. It looks so much like painting but no paint is used but shades of wood only.

It is not a painting!

Inlay is a technique of inserting pieces of contrasting and coloured material into hallowed out spaces to form a picture. In Inlay work, also known as Marquetry, material used is wood but could also be ivory, metal, gems etc. 

Wood inlay work on a table top

First of all the artists make a pattern then the pattern is traced on the wood. Grooves are then made on the wood board. Then very fine narrow wood strips of various colours are cut and glued to the pattern and then with the help of sand paper it is smoothed out. The resulting work gives the decoration depth for example in the top photo even the shadows have been created of the women carrying the pitcher of water. 

An Artisan (artist) at work in Hoshiarpur

I saw this in Hoshiarpur, which though a small town, is world famous for its wooden inlay work of furniture, decorative pieces etc. Some of you must have seen table tops where in the earlier days ivory was used for the inlay but now due to scarcity as well as ban on ivory acrylic as well as camel bone is used for the inlay work to what I would call as imitation ivory. Other wooden inlay products are chess boards, screens, trays, boxes, elephants and other animals. 

Camel bones & acrylic used for inlay work

The whole process is very time consuming and is done in Hoshiarpur as a small scale cottage industry. Hoshiarpur is located in the north eastern part of Punjab bordering Himachal. 

They all look like paintings!

Majority of the wood inlay work from Hoshiarpur is exported to countries like US, Canada, UK and Germany. This art started in the town about 300 years back.

Also read – The Clock Tower of Hoshiarpur


Unknown said...

Indeed! this is not just a painting...It's a carving of a life time, It's a memory....

Anil Yadav said...

Yes Parminder that is so! The work is so tedious that it takes quite some time to make one small wall-hanging but the results are just amazing.

Unknown said...

very useful informations in this blog

Unknown said...

very useful informations in this blog

Unknown said...

nice work, thanks admin to share this amazing pic.

Unknown said...

very good work thanks for giving
these good posts

Unknown said...

Hello Anil Ji

i just saw this blog and got surprised because few people are known to this work, worldwide and there are not even much updates about this work anywhere

My name is Amit Matharu and I am from Hoshiarpur too working in this same Field - Wooden Inlaid Handicraft

We are one of The Best Manufactures and Exporters of these Products Worldwide
M/S New Matharu Ivort Art Emporium

but the thing is. there are a few people who know about this work and its workmanship
like.. A wooden Inlaid Elephant of size 30 inches (height) which is all made from 1 log of Sheesham Wood (other names - sisoo, Tahli)
takes about 6 months (8 hours a day) of 2 workers to make it.

but people dont know because there is not much advertisement of this work by our government anywhere for which now firms are doing their best to let people know about this work where they can get all kind of Wooden Furniture, Wall hangings and other gift and household items

I am really thankful to you for showing this post on your blog.
thanks for informing people about this work :)

Amit Matharu

Unknown said...

I found a wall hanging at a local thrift store. I love anything that is "different" or something that I've never seen. From some research that I've done I believe I have the climber and explorer inlay. This is very exciting!! There is so much useful information here!