When we travelled to India, our senses were nearly overloaded with the incredible contrasts and mysticism of this huge country. But the visit to Agra to see the Taj Mahal both by day and by moonlight was one of the highlights forever ingrained in our memories. This magnificent structure was built of incredibly pure and beautiful white marble, with semi-precious stones inserted for designs throughout.
The artist's use of mother of pearl so captures the look of the Taj Mahal by moonlight. The flowers, with bits of green and cinnamon colors, perfectly complement it.
This box is made of a polished black stone and still has the original tags from the Marble Emporium in Agra. The cover measures a bit over 6 inches by 4 inches. It stands nearly 2 inches high. It shows some wear, but all the decorative stones are intact.
Circa 1970 or earlier.
Pietre dure (or Parchin kari, in south Asia) is an art-historical term for the technique of using small, exquisitely cut and fitted, highly-polished colored stones to create what amounts to a painting in stone. It is considered a decorative art. The stonework, after the work is assembled loosely, is glued stone-by-stone to a substrate after having previously been "sliced and cut in different shape sections; and then assembled together so precisely that the contact between each section was practically invisible" Stability was achieved by grooving the undersides of the stones so that they interlocked, rather much like a jigsaw puzzle, with everything held tautly in place by an encircling 'frame'. Many different colored stones, particularly marbles, were used, along with semiprecious, and even precious stones. It first appears in Rome in the 1500s but reaches its full maturity in Florence.
Pietre dure is an Italian plural meaning hard rocks, or perhaps better durable stone and this is the preferred term; the singular pietre dura is also encountered. The English term "Florentine mosaic" is sometimes also encountered, as is "micromosaic", but these are disparaged, often as terms developed by the tourist industry.
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Unique Collectibles, Antiques and Fine Arts from Around the World
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