Indian Pietra Dure Plate


This Indian alabaster plate is inset with what we used to call "semi-precious stones", before that term was abolished in the 1950s. The orange is carnelian. The dark is either sodalite or lapis lazuli. I cannot identify the green, but I am sure Kate the gemoligist will be able to do this when she is here Friday. It is 16.75 cm in diameter.

The process of insetting pieces of stone or wood into the supporting body is called intarsia. It is much easier to maker a jig saw out of equal depth pieces and glue the whole onto a support, so intarsia has generally not been practised in Europe for hundreds of years.

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