The Timeless Art of Bone Inlay in India
Bone inlay refers to an ancient decorative technique that involves embedding delicate, hand-carved pieces of bone into the surface of an object. The result makes for a striking pattern–often floral or geometric–of contrasting colors and materials that add surface splendor to any room.
The origins of the technique are murky, but what we do know is that it has transcended countries, centuries and civilizations, with evidence of it in the embellished furniture of ancient Egypt, lacquerware of 18th Century Japan, and the architecture erected during India’s Mughal Empire.
The process of inlaying begins with a design or pattern which is carved out from a material. In our case it’s either mother of pearl or cruelty-free polished bone from camels that have died of natural causes, but it can be done with wood, metal, marble and mother of pearl. Then, with a base object, impressions are made to match said pattern or design so that the delicate pieces of bone can be meticulously inserted onto the surface. The carved bone pieces are then surrounded by contrasting resin for an immaculately smooth finish.
Handcrafted from start to finish by artisans who have learnt techniques passed down through generations, no two pieces of bone inlay furniture are the same. Regardless of the size or inlay pattern, these furnishings take a minimum of three weeks to produce and require remarkable levels of patience, neatness, artistry and expertise.
Ornate and eye-catching, bone inlay furniture make striking home décor pieces. It has the ability to tie a whole space together, adding a dash of excitement with its individual character and tapestry of colors, textures and patterns. And while the style has ancient roots, we’re confident that these furnishings have a place in a contemporary home, and that it’s an art form that has, and will continue to, stand the test of time.