A common sight in the curio and gift shops of Jaipur is boxes, tables and trays with brass or copper inlay work. This type of work is called
tarkashi and it utilizes burnished metal wire or tar set in the wood to create delicate arithmetical patterns.
Deeper, in the narrow alleyways of the city, you can place master craftsmen at work. Onto a plain, dark
shisham surface, a naqsha (map) of the design is glued. The outline is then incised into the wood with a small chisel. The worker cuts 2 mm ribbons from a sheet of brass or copper, tempers them and then, placing one on edge in an incised line, he hammers it until it is level with the surface.
The metal comes in various gauges, the thickest being used for tough outlines, the best for details such as hair. A lick of polish and varnish, and the object is ready for sale.
Don't get confused this tarkashi is dissimilar from that of Bengal, where it signifies filigree.