Made in India?

#1 Nov 9th, 2013, 11:22
Join Date:
Dec 2012
Los Angeles
  • davidx2 is offline
The other David half of davidx2 made another foray to the thrift shop and came home with the box pictured below. It appears to be pietra dura work reminiscent of the work on the Taj Mahal. If anyone can tell us:

1) Was this perhaps made in India?
2) If it was made in India, what part of India?
3) How much would it typically cost in India?

It's 4.25" x 3" x 1.5" (11 cm x 7.5 cm x 4 cm) and the bottom is carved from a solid piece of white marble. The green inlay is malachite and there is also mother of pearl, lapis lazuli, and perhaps carnelian or agate.
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#2 Nov 9th, 2013, 12:40
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Sep 2013
  • Meta genes is offline
Not indian. It is Turkic motif and pretty common also in Northern Africa.
#3 Nov 9th, 2013, 16:08
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Apr 2010
  • snitchseeker is offline
Indian, Turkish and Byzantine arts and architecture were affected by the Islamic invasions, both in ancient Byzantium as well as India. One can find Byzantine arches in ancient churches in England, as well as new mosques here in India. To answer your question, yes it is made in India. I know these boxes are made in Rajasthan, though there might be other places. The price for such a piece was minimum 1000 Rs. depending upon the quality of the marble.
#4 Nov 9th, 2013, 16:52
Join Date:
Oct 2004
Chennai, India
  • Nick-H is offline
isn't it soapstone?
#5 Nov 9th, 2013, 19:33
Join Date:
Dec 2008
  • vaibhav_arora is offline
Originally Posted by davidx2 View Post
1) Was this perhaps made in India?
2) If it was made in India, what part of India?
3) How much would it typically cost in India?
Hi David (and X2)

These boxes are commonly available in Agra, Kishnagarh (Rajasthan) and even Jaipur and Delhi. The material for the box is marble traditionally sourced from the Makrana area of Rajasthan (though there are other parts of the state that have these mines as well). I've seen these being sold on the road side near Kishangarh and Ajmer.

The inlay is indeed inspired from the work that the Mughals patronized (the mughals were of turkic - mongol origin as you know). This work is seen in Agra (Taj, Fort, etc) and to a more limited extent was copied elsewhere. Here's a photo showing this work in Agra in a building : The marble for the Taj is supposed to have come from Makrana.

Here's a nice blog post that explains the process: and here're some similar looking pieces :

Can't help with the price but I'd agree with the previous reckoning of Rs 1000/- or higher. I recently sourced a similar inlaid plate for a client of my firm's and that cost about Rs 2500/- so this cannot be much cheaper as the nature of work is similar.

Hope this helps!
#6 Nov 10th, 2013, 00:34
Join Date:
Sep 2008
4221'N, 7103'W
  • RWeHavingFunYet is offline
It looks like a cheap imitation $5 jewellery box. My guide in Agra made me buy one such box from his buddy and I paid Rs. 500 after hard bargain. Later I went to another shop in Agra under the pressure of a auto rickshaw driver's uncle shop . Uncle was quoting me high prices and I showed him the one I purchased for Rs. 500. He said it was a cheap imitation. Well, I shipped mine home in a package and when it arrived it was in pieces and I had to trash it. Like Nick had mentioned, it looks like cheap soapstone – very brittle.

Your box looks nice. Don't drop it.

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