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 Inlay art  and how it can be used inside of handicrafts objects?


Inlay art is the decoration method that its origin refers to the insertion of a piece in the blank context. This art is called inlay if the context of work to be wood.  Persian Inlay art (Persian Khātam) is one of the best Persian handicrafts and it`s process of making is an ancient Persian technique of inlaying. this  art forms that create by Persian people`s hand are made by decorating the surface of wooden articles.
This inlay art is covered by gluing the inlaid strips. Strips of inlay art are created by wrapping together the glued long and thin wooden, metal or bone rods and then cut them.

This video helps visualize the process:

 short history of inlay art



Inlay art has a historical view like the other arts. Most of the people of the world are interested in wooden objects because of the various reasons including natural and beautiful color and design. These objects are created and rearranged various ways in each country. inlay art is one of this wooden arts that it`s history returns to thousands years ago and its signs are seen in ancient Egypt, China, India and Iran. In spite of its beauty and unique features, due to the geographical limitations of production and the complexity of the construction process, it is unknown for most of the world’s people and even for researchers of the history of arts and handicrafts field so far. The history of inlay in Iran dates back to the Seljuk period, but In Safavid era, Inlay was so popular in the court that princes learned this technique alongside  of other arts like  music or painting.



processes of Design and create inlay art



Inlay art making and Designing of inlaid articles  is a highly elaborate process. There are sometimes more than 400 pieces per square inch in a work of average quality. materials utilized for this art in terms of application can be divided in at least five distinct groups including “all kinds of wood, bone, wire, adhesive and polish material.”. Getting different kind of wood in different colors are provided and then using the appropriate tools. Thin rods of wood, bone, and metal are cut to roughly 2 mm (or less) thick and 30 cm long, then bound together, first with string and then with glue. The desired pattern becomes visible by looking at one end of the bundle, from which 1 mm slices are cut. The slices are then arranged and adhered on the surface to be adorned. In the finished product.This craft consists in the production of incrustation patterns (generally star-shaped), with thin sticks of wood (ebony, teak, orange, rose), brass (for golden parts), camel bones (white parts).

Here’s a close up of one of the classic patterns:


Here’s a close up of one of the classic patterns:

one of the inlay patterns

And another couple of variations using different materials and colors:


This is a picture of one pattern of inlay art

Another inlay pattern

usage of inlay by skilled inlay maker artists


Broad and narrow bracts of  inlay art  are used and installed by skilled inlay maker artists on every wooden surface from the wall to the Holy book The ornamentation of the doors of holy places predominantly consists of inlaid motifs. Samples of these can be observed in the cities of Mashhad, Qom, Shiraz and Rey. also in royal building, doors, and various wooden items ranging from small frames, and jewelry boxes, to large items such as coffee tables, bed frames, dinner tables, and large chandeliers, watches, Persian miniature painting and many other objects have been inlay.The art of inlaid is now practice  in Isfahan, Shiraz and Tehran but among them Shiraz is very famous in this field.

this is a picture of some boxes that decorating by inlay

inlay that decorating the surface of wooden box

Persian handicrafts inlay in use (chehel sotoun palace)

inlay that use in “CHEHELSOTOUN” palace architecture (Isfahan city)

different classification of inlay


Inlay art can be classified in many ways including how it is used at work for example, for margin of work, margin Khatam which has the simpler and much narrower motif is used. For work’s background, the context inlay which has the more complex and width motif is used. Also, in another classification  inlay in terms of construction method and the shape of the cross section surface of its smallest unit can be classified into two category including square inlay that the cross section surface is the smallest unit of square and its strips are made by putting thin wooden or bone sheets on each other and triangle inlay in which triangle is its smallest unit and its strips are made by gathering long wooden and metal prisms in the circle form then gluing and cutting them layer by layer.

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