Rosewood Inlay Handicraft

Mysore is famous for wide variety of handicrafts, other than its textiles and paintings. We were showroom-hopping there to pick up hand carved gifts to take back home. Wood inlay art pieces were in plenty there. A visit to the factory of a showroom there was the most captivating experience. The workers there willingly showed us their specific roles in creating the beautiful art pieces; inlay work on rosewood.

One of the carpenters meticulously carved grooves in the predesigned images and patterns on the rosewood board, by carefully scooping out along the lines. The motifs that were to be inlaid were piled in groups; these were being fixed into the grooves by another craftsman. Until a few decades back these motifs were of ivory and the price of each art piece was exorbitant. With the ban on ivory, these motifs are now made of colored plastics.

Finally the smoothing was done using a sandpaper to give the final finished work.

It all sounds easy right? It looked easy too; my daughters were keen to try out their skills on them. However easy it may look or sound, the fact is that, one has to be dedicated and talented enough to produce these wonders.

The descendants of artisans who migrated from Persia to Srirangapatna during the time of Tipu Sultan might have helped propagate this craft. Today there are around 4000 artisans in this city of Mysore, earning their daily bread through this art.

(Do click on the images to get a better view.)

Talking to them and seeing them work at close quarters was awe-inspiring. The factory officials are smart; they encourage visitors to mingle with the workers so that we become emotionally tied to their products and ultimately their brand ambassador.


Moti Mahal in Mehrangarh Fort, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
Kesava Temple at Somnathpur

35 Responses to “Rosewood Inlay Handicraft

  • Hello !

    He is an artist !

  • Indrani, I always adore these posts; they are beautiful tributes. Now THOSE are REAL artists I say!

  • That is truly talent. I have so much admiration for those who can create beauty with their hands.

  • this reminds me so much of China – we visited a couple of stores/factories – to find the perfect wood carvings for our home – gorgeous – meticulous work for PENNIES!! just amazing craftsmanship!

  • Good feature on the artists. Hope their lot improves, and they get compensation they are happy with.

  • Very nice and informative piece.

  • wonderful artwork

  • That must take a life time to accomplish such skill.
    Very interesting post! Lovely photos.

  • Not sure if the last message got to you or if it was an owner approval. well here goes……
    Must take a lifetime to acquire such skill.
    Beautiful pictures and a very interesting story.

  • Wow… to be able to create such beautiful artwork…

    Great post.

  • What beautiful craftsmanship! How awesome. 😀

  • Oho… This was Tipu patronised art and craft? Thank you for that
    news and walk thro’ of the art centre. Am proud to inform that I had earlier purchased two wall
    hangings.. from a Mysore handicraft exhibition. One’s a
    hero and heroine silhouette in a boat and another is a scary Grrrrr

  • Your posts inspire me and make me curious to what’s going on in your world. The photos are very good and you have created your story with love.
    Thanks for your visit and have a great weekend!

  • I always learn things when I come to your posts…and I love that. They truly are amazing artists, aren’t they?

  • Absolutely stunning. I always enjoy reading your blog and especially your PSFs.

  • Absolutely stunning. I always enjoy reading your blog and especially your PSFs.

  • indrani, u post such quality posts. i feel a little embarrassed i simply write i feel like writing only 🙂

  • Beautiful art pieces I also visit the site and saw an ivory piece. It looks like a hair ornament or something I just can’t figure it right but certainly very beautiful..Happy weekend Indrani.

  • a great effort to showcase such unknown artists and their craft. superb!

  • In a day where most things are automated, it’s nice to see hand crafted products and good that they aren’t killing elephants for it.

  • Hi Indrani! After a short break but a long absence, I’m finally back to the blogosphere and found some time to enjoy your excellent blog…
    Beautiful pictures of great works!
    Also loved to see the Kesava Temple; another one on my wait-list… ;))
    Many thanks for your comments on Blogtrotter, while I was off. It’s now still in Kos on the way to Crete! Hope you enjoy and wish you a great weekend and a nice week ahead!

  • Great story! I think it’s neat customers are encouraged to mingle to bring a tie in to the work of art they will be receiving.

  • Indrani… ur posts are too good as usual…u always manage to keep us readers interested..

    I have always wondered what keeps these artisans ticking.. it is not only the money I am sure but the passion.

    In this world of ours where we expect quick and hard money to be counted in hours, it is a relief to note that there are still people who love their work in spite of the returns not being in par.

  • Wonderful wonderful wonderful post which always attract me here to read your blog. The people look patience and concentrating on the art. great review.

  • mysore is so rich in these handicrafts ..great post , probably one of the best Ive read on mysore

  • Rosewood carvings are nice. Very find artwork by the masters!

  • You have the most interesting post topics and always do such a fine job with them.

  • Interesting thing to notice is where ever you go, you capture these creative people, either they are making – pots, handicrafts or mats. Sometimes, i wonder if they know what prices these items that they created are actually sold for?

  • Beautiful handcrafts. It’s always refreshing to see that not everything has been taken over by technology.

  • How do you manage to go behind the curtains ? I mean normally shopkeepers/showroom owners don’t tell us or don’t let us go there for fear of us knowing the insights.

  • I came for new ones today….read all …

    your travelogues and introductions are truly worthy of reading…i liked news paper earings, especially..not to say any lessof others..

    i know many interesting posts are in the making…
    Come again!

  • A good artist makes art look effortless…

    Glad to see what you were doing three months ago!

    Morning greetings from Niger,

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