Are You Aware About The Tarkashi Craft Which Can Adorn Any Surface?

Tarkashi Craft Workshop with Rajasthan Studio

An Introduction to Tarkashi Craft

Tarkashi craft utilizes gleaming metal wires (tar), set in the wood to craft some intricate geometric patterns or floral designs. Mughals have largely inspired this craft. Taar means wire in Hindi. The technique of inlaying fine flattened wire of brass, copper or silver in wood is called Taarkashi.  The patterns inlaid are usually geometric forms or florals with inspirations from Mughal arts. The artisan transfers a design from a piece of paper onto a block of wood. He then carves deep, thin grooves along the trace. 

During his regime Sawai Jai Singh invited Sri Sarwan Lal Misra, a master craftsman from Mainpuri, who started practicing and teaching this craft in Jaipur. Few people learnt the craft and carried the tradition forward. At present there are about four families and fifteen individuals practicing this craft in Jaipur. These families belong to the Jangid community.

Veins of Steel – Tarkashi with Mohal Lal Sharma

Are you fond of the detailed elements in an artwork? Do you wish to learn the art of royals ? Does the regal and durable beautification always capture your attention ? Learn the Tarkashi Craft with Rajasthan Studio! Flabbergasted! You read it right! Bingo! Even you can learn the long lasting beautification technique for caskets, pens, doors, mirror frames etc. Exciting news! Get trained personally from the artist who is adept at it. Hakuna Matata! Get all of it at one click.

Artwork of Master Artist Mohan Lal Sharma Ji, Image Source: Rajasthan Studio

What is a Masterclass Workshop?

Rajasthan Studio has specially curated personalized Masterclass Workshops. This ensures the privilege of one to one learning from the expert artists. We only take limited seats in each workshop. Not only you can understand the art technique vividly but also practically do it along. Take back best of the learnt skills and art pieces.

A glimpse of the workshop.

Process of Making Tarkashi Craft

Artisans primarliy do Tarkashi work on the hardwood. In this process, they use dark coloured and seasoned Sheesham wood. The high oil content of this wood holds the inlaid metal securely. Firstly, they draw patterns on the wood. Consequently, they engrave it with a half round chisel and hammer it to a depth of 1 mm. Next step invovles cutting thin strips from sheet metal, heating it over a flame and cool it to remove the temper. It is must to straightened the strips.

The skillful artisans beat the resultant metal strip into the previously created grooves with a hammer. Small coiled dot-like forms called Bhiriyan, an element unique to Tarkashi as craftsmen directly need to beat into wood. They even out the surface with a sander or silli, after that the craftsmen apply fine Sheesham sawdust mixed with diluted adhesive over the entire surface to fill the gaps. 

As the fine wires are hammered into respective grooves, the intricacies of the carved wood shines out. Besides sitting royally on your Tarkashi tables, this craft can also be used to create boxes for encasing your precious jewels elegantly. These hand-crafted Tarkashi boxes add not only intricacy but also beauty to your valuable collections. 

Things That Use Tarkashi Craft

People believed that leather is impure so the Tarkashi craft technique beautified the wooden sandals , in earlier times. Today people recognize it for its fine inlay work with brass wire, strips and motifs on dark Sheesham with fine dots and patterned lines. Markedly, it is extensively evident for designing furniture and boxes. One can find in the old palaces and forts of Rajasthan. These palaces have beautifully inlaid doors with ivory and intricate floral or geometric patterns. In each cubic centimeter of inlaid work, craftsmen lay up to 250 pieces of metal and wood side by side. One can find the same skilled craftsmanship in the inlay work in thrones, howdahs and horse or camel saddles. 

If you’re lucky, in the narrow alleyways of the Pink City- Jaipur, you might see Tarkashi craftsmen at work! The craftsmen place a map of the design onto a plain, dark sheesham surface, . You can find the craftsmen incising the outline into the wood with a small chisel. The worker cuts ribbons of approximately 2 millimeters from a sheet of brass or copper, tempers them and finally places one on edge in an incised line and hammers it until it is levelled with the surface.

Tarkashi Craft on Vase and Table by Master Artist Mohan Lal Sharma Ji, Image Source : Rajasthan Studio

In a nutshell:

Rajasthan is reckoned as a state of amazingly talented craftsmen, who have created some of the uniquely beautiful and captivating art pieces. As a result, people admire the Tarkashi highly admired craft from the state. Gift items for personal and practical uses are popular. Spreading the magic of their skill, the artisans of Tarkashi painstakingly inlay brass in wood with great precision and detail. Above all, this craft continues to enjoy a pride of place in the modern world . It is often particularly visible on the doors, windows, mirror frames, Quran boxes, inlaid boxes, pens and penholders, lanterns and inlaid ornamented shrines.

Follow Rajasthan Studio on Instagram for more amazing art content. Reach out to us on email at contact[at]rajasthanstudio[dot]com. This blog is curated by Rajasthan Studio and written by Samira sarin.

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