Marble in India seems to have a hierarchy of its own. Our guide informed us that the Makrana marble is the best marble in India but it is no longer commercially available except in relation to its connection with the Taj Mahal. Makrana marble continues to be used by the artisan descendants of those who created the jewelled inlays of the Taj Mahal. Promoting the artisan training has been a focussed attempt by the government to retain the particular skills required to create the beautiful detail.
We purchased a couple of small marble pieces to take home. It is rock after all, and quickly added to the weight of our luggage. One piece was the real deal, inlaid with paua, carnelian, malachite and jasper. A second piece, our guide solemnly warned us, was not from Makrana. It was said in the tone of someone apologising for disappointing us. But it was a piece we loved – a small heart-shaped jewellery box in a rosy marble. We bought it anyway.
The marble is also a wonderful medium for carving and presenting images in relief such as those I’ve selected to show amongst the group in the montage.
The circular piece in the photos below is the one we purchased from the Makrana artisans. The other shots are of the Taj Mahal. It’s fascinating how the zig-zag pattern of the onyx against the marble make it look like the marble pillars are star-shaped. I’ve shown a close-up, too, so you can see that it is a flat surface.
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