There are lots of method and crafts that are done on woods. Some might be an awe to you, some might not be. But the Rosewood Inlays from Mysore holds its own in the sheets of history books of arts and crafts. Its uniqueness can be justified by the fact that it’s awarded Geographical Indication tag from Govt of India.
The wooden inlay is the process of decorating the surface of wood by setting in pieces of material such as ivory, bone, plastic, or wood of different colours whose history goes back to the time of Tipu Sultan. But this art came in popularity during 1914 when the Mysore Maharaja.
During this time, the artisans were encouraged to practice arts and crafts of their choice. But later, a Master craftsman ‘Shokat Ali’ brought a vast change to the world of redwood crafts. He changed the way the inlays were made which was widely appreciated by the King and the Britishers, whom the King gifted his work.
Making these beautiful looking things are not easy as they go through different processes that require expertise. Each step involves an artisan who is expert in that field so that everything goes fine and there are no compromises in the quality and the design of the products. This starts with procuring desired materials first.
The woods are then cut in the desired shape and followed by proper seasoning. Once it is done, the final set of designs are made on them. Once this is completed, the final tasks involve putting colour, chiseling and filling up portions with charcoal.
These rosewood inlays used to be high on demand. However, increasing the cost of raw materials, fewer craftsmen have all pulled this thing down. In order to improve the situation, the Karnataka government has set up a multi-craft cluster complex which includes 480 living quarters built with the help of central and state government. The government provides living and working spaces for 2000 craftsperson and families.
The Mysore rosewood has been a pride not only for the people of Mysore but for every Indian. It’s heartening to see it go down like this. However, with proper planning and schemes, we can make this alive and run again. So, next time you see something amazing maybe you are looking at one of the masterpieces of the Mysore.