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Craft Internship document by Navneet Singh Copyright Š 2017 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. Published in November, 2017 Semester V Fashion Communication National Institute of Fashion Technology Bangalore Printed at Kolor Kode

The name Mysore dates back the days of emperor Ashoka. However, it is widely held that mysore is an anglicized version of ‘Mahishsurana Uru’ which in Kannada means the village of town of Mahishasura, the buffalo-headed demon.

[ CONTENTS ] Acknowledgement i Proem iii Tale of the city 1 -Population -Literacy Ratio -Employment Rate -Weather Type -Location -Area Coverage -Places you must visit -Place around Mysore -Speciality of Mysore -Crafts of Mysore Rosewood Inlay 6 -Intro -Origin and History -Raw materials/Tools -Process -Products Post Script




[ ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ] First and foremost we’d like to express our gratitude to the director of NIFT Bengaluru for providing us with this wonderful opportunity to study this beautiful craft. Furthermore we’d also like to acknowledge with much appreciation the crucial role of our mentor Mr. CM Sanjeev who guided and encouraged us, even the artisans who cooperated and welcomed us into their homes. We’d also like to specially extend our gratitude to Mr. Mayank Saini because of whom we saw another perspective to Mysore Rosewood Inlay. Thank You. i

[ PROEM ] “The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it. ”

Rulers and landed aristocracy vied with each other in their patronage of composers and musicians and the cyclical patronage of royal Courts in Mysore. Our visit to this city with such a rich culture and tradition was just over whelming and hence this book “Marvels of Mysore” is made.It gives an insight to the beautiful city and the craft. It holds it’s nuances and intricacies, the beauty and the hardships as it also gives a peek on the lives of the artisans.


Mysore palace, which is certainly a good example of IndoSarcenic style of architecture – a blending of traditional and modern – is both a heritage monument of India’s princely past, and a momento of the maharaja’s lavish taste and spending.


The Tale of the city

The Tale of the city

During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, however, the fort changed its form from a residential town into a modern garden or empty space where only the palace and temple remained...This spatial transformation of the art was a crucial part of a city improvement project in Mysore, which tried to beautify the capital at the same time as endeavuoring to meet modern demands of sanitation and hygiene…In this process, the modern Western idea of improvement and the traditional kingly role as a protector of dharma were somehow reconciled and mutually strengthened. This city which the British looked on [w]as one of the ‘model states’ of princely India, responsibly run on progressive lines. By the inter-war years the maharajas of Mysore were second only to the nizams of Hyderabad terms of wealth, with an income in excess of two million pounds a year, some of which was spent on the construction of the Lalit Mahal Palace, an extraordinary architectural fantasy, just outside Mysore city, modeled on St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.



(demographics, specialities, sight seeing areas)

1.28 million (approx)

498,661 employed people Males : 376,622 Females : 122,039

Suorthern part of Deccan plateau



Employment rate of male and females


Literacy Ratio


Weather Type

It has a salubrious climate.

Area Coverage


Very moderate.

6268 sq km

Places you must visit Mysore Palace Jaganmohan Palace Lalitha Mahal Hotel Mysore zoo St. Philomena’s Church

Places around mysore (art, architecture & temples) Srirangapatna

Somanathapura Talakadu


Chamundi Hill


Folklore Museum Brindavan Gardens Silver jubilee Clock Tower Mylari Dosa Guru sweets


Shravana Belagola Belur (156kms)

Regional Museum of Natural History



Devraja Market Rail Museum



(156kms) (90kms)







Bhagamandala Talakaveri Suttur




(30 kms)

Speciality of Mysore Art and architecture Mysore Pak Mysore Betel Leaves Mysore silk Mysore Jasmine Mysore Tonga Sandal wood oil Incense Stick Carnatic Music Traditional Mysore Paintings Folk dance Ayurveda Mysore Silk Sarees

Crafts of Mysore

Mysore Gold leaf painting Mysore Rosewood Inlay Mysore paintings Ganjifa Craft 4

[ HISTORY OF INLAY ] Although the origins of wood inlay are uncertain due to the perishability of the material, records of this craft have been found in various part of the world. Around 3000 BC Egyptians decorated much of their woodwork with mother of pearl, ivory and wood inlay, as witnessed by objects found in Saqquara, while wooden boxes inlaid with mosaic, dating back to 2600-2400 BC and belonging to the Sumerian civilization were excavated in the royal cemetery of Ur (Iraq). The technique was later perfected in North Africa. In Europe, wood inlay was largely diffused in Italy, where records of the craft dating back to 4th century AD have been found. This refined art reached its apex during the 15th century, becoming an accomplished expression of the esthetic ideals of the Renaissance along with other major arts. Belonging to this period, the renown cabinet or studiolo di Federico da Montefeltro in the Ducal Palace at Urbino , with its wooden panels attributed to the workshop of Baccio Pontelli, is one of the most elaborate examples of wood inlay or tarsia . The duke’s studiolo was ornamented with refined wooden mural panels depicting trompe-l’oeil shelves loaded with books, papers and mathematical instruments and scenes as per the recently codified rules of perspective. The panels rendered shades of light in a sophisticate manner by using different woods along with dye treatments. Another studiolo, belonging to the duke’son Guidobaldo in the Ducal Palace at Gubbio, was dismantled and sold to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 1939. In East Asia, wood inlay flourished in China and Japan. Red lacquered boxes inlaid with carved mother of pearl were important pieces in the Ming and Ch’ing dynasties, while in Japan mother of pearl inlay was used in black lacquered wood. Other materials used for inlay in China, especially in furniture, were ivory, jade, silver, gold and amber.


[ ROSEWOOD INLAY ] British Gazetters of the Raj era, those marvellously accurate records of the minutiae of Indian life, mention the presence of “thousands of rosewood inlay workers” in mysore during the nineteenth century. With their “wondrous and unparalelled” skills of inlaying finely etched ivory motifs on rosewood surfaces, they literally captured a panaroma of India, its festivals, flora and fauna. The roots can be traced back to a family by the name of Mirza Yousuf Ali who were pioneers in the field. Under Wodeyars the rosewood inlay work grew and got patronized, the early records say this art is as old as 400 years.



1. HACKSAW Hacksaw with a wire blade is af- fixed to a C-shaped iron frame. The fine blade is used to cut slabs of wood to curvilinear pieces. These blades break easily when heated due to friction produced by sawing through the wood. To reduce the chances of breaking off it is cooled with wax. 2. CHISEL/TAGAD Chisel is used for scraping and shaping the wood. It is generally available in different sizes, depending upon the type of work involved. 3. PLIER/AMBOR Plier is another commonly used tool which helps in pulling out the nails from the fixtures and also helps in removing the embedded pieces when required. They come in various sizes and have different shaped noses.


[ TO

4. FORCEPS/CHIMTI Forceps are used to put the small pieces for inlay into the grooves and cavities created in the wood. It helps in arranging pieces of wood and plastic which may slip from the hand otherwise 5. HAND DRILL Hand driller is a tool which has different diameters of nails used for boring holes of different diameters in the wooden plank.




A broad flat iron rod called the patta is used to beat the chisels so that the whole force is concentrated at one point. 7. NAILS AND KEELS Number of nails of various sizes are used by the wood inlay craftsmen for the purpose of putting the inlay pieces into sequence in the process of pressing them. The lengths of these pieces are generally 1 inches to three inches and are usually very thin.











[ PROCESS ] Teamwork is at the core of this craft, with the process comprising seven stages : Designing and drawing, carpentry, hand cuttingand shaping of motifs, scooping the exact pattern on the rosewood surface, fixing and inlaying followed by sand papering, polishing and engraving the details and the final finish.

Various kinds of wood are cut into planks from logs and are left to dry. (It reduces the moisture content of the wood and helps in shrinking)

A template is prepared of the design and is photocopied multiple times. This design is pasted on a piece of wood so that it can be cut out, in this process the wood is fixed to a vice. This stage requires a lot of patience and is also the foundation of the work.

After each piece is cut out they are placed together on the rosewood base and an outline is drawn on the surface, the contours are chipped off with the help of a chisel and a hammer.

These pieces of wood are aligned with the contours of the design and are pasted with PVC adhesive. When there is a gap left, a mixture of rosewood saw dust and glue is rubbed over it and is left to dry for a few hours.

The surface is then smoothened by scraping and then rubbing with the help of a fine-grade sandpaper. Then ivory black is applied on the surface to fill in the grooves. It is then wiped off with a white cloth leaving behind the outlines and the final work is hence complete.








The wood is first collected. (raw material)


The wood is then sesasoned to reduce the moisture content.

A pattern is then made on a piece of paper.

Then it is pasted on the wood for it to be further cut.



After the pattern is pasted it is cut according to the desired shape.


The wood is then coloured in colours like blue, orange, green etc. which are further inlayed according to the design.

Other shapes and patterns of different materials that are to be inlayed are cut and kept.

Once the pieces are cut and collected, they are ready to be inlayed.



Glue is applied to the pieces for them to be further pasted on the depressions of the wood.


The wood is also cut and engraved according to the patterns.

The inlayed pieces are then placed on the wood depressions.

With the help of a hammer, the inlayed pieces are further pressed deep into the wood.



The artwork is then rubbed with sandwood to get a smooth surface.


With the help of a chisel, the contours are further chipped off for better detailing.

After the whole process is finally complete and is then polished in the end, the artwork is ready to be sold.

With the whole process of hardwork and dedication, one piece of Rosewood Inlay is complete.



[ POSTSCRIPT ] As the story has come to an end of such wonderful heroes who work day and night to achieve a single piece of work. What we understood from our venture is that every hero thinks his path is unique and original. The only tragedy that exists is that the path is already discovered, what they have to do is to bring changes to it. Mysore : The land of culture, beauty and intricacy has always been carried forward and the dedication is acknowledgeable. From the people to the streets, the food and the temples still have it’s charm. You enter the city, it screams of MYSORE. 27

[ INDEX ] Amber, 6 British Gazetter, 8 Chimti, 11 Dharma, 1 Indo-Sarcenic Style, v Model States, 1 Mosaic, 6 Patta, 11 Princely States, 1 Renaissance, 6 Saqqara, 6 Sumerian Civilization, 6 Tagad, 11 Tarsia, 6 Wodeyars, 8


[ EXIT ]


A journey which i enjoyed a lot. My learning, experiences all taken into account, this book has it all. A brief yet understandable story of how Mysore Rosewood Inlay art from the city Mysore is done is show in the book.

Mysore Rosewood Inlay

e E - book available


Coffee Table Book : Mysore Rosewood Inlay  
Coffee Table Book : Mysore Rosewood Inlay  

Coffee Table Book on Mysore Rosewood Inlay