A Nearly Lost Art : Mughal Stone Work at the Taj Mahal

On the final day of this practicum, a few students took the opportunity to explore Agra and its cultural heritage. The Taj Mahal is located there and is a shining example of Mughal hardstone carving, an art that is nearly lost today.

Day time Taj Mahal, southern view.

After visiting this great monument and seeing the grand-scale of this work, we visited a small workshop of artisans who are continuing this extremely manual, fragile, and amazing art form. Each inlaid piece is ground by hand!

These complex carvings into the marble of the Taj Mahal were made for each semi-precious stone that would be inlaid into it so that each design would be flush against the marble. The effect is stunning.

Photo Credit - http://www.taj-mahal.net/augEng/textMM/materialsengN.htm

Intricate inlays of flowers set into the marble of the Taj Mahal’s interior.

Photo Credit - http://www.taj-mahal.net/augEng/textMM/materialsengN.htm

A close up of one of the inlaid patterns.

This was an amazing last day to spend in India as part of this practicum. To be able to visit this UNESCO World Heritage site, then meet some of the artisans who are trying to preserve this Mughal art which made it.

By Felicity Foster

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