A Carved Oak Center Table In The Manner Of Richard Bridgens With Inset Parchin Kari Marble Top

June 5 2009, 10:20am

The Mughal term "parchin kari" translates literally to "driven-in", and this technique of pietre dure inlay developed independently in India, at the court of Shah Jahan, the 17th-century Mughal emperor. At this time, architecture was evolving from grounds of red sandstone to white marble, and from relief carving to inlay with semiprecious stones in floral and arabesque motifs. The most famous Mughal building to feature parchin kari is the Taj Mahal, built between 1632 and 1653 by Shah Jahan as a mausoleum for his wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The parchi kari of the Taj Mahal employs the same angular and curvilinear lines as the design of this tabletop, and is embellished with similar three- and five-petaled flowers, buds, and leaves. The base of this table was constructed specifically for these precious inlaid panels in the manner of Richard Bridgens, the 19th-century English architect and designer, who furnished residences such as Abbotsford House, home of Sir Walter Scott.