Khatamkari is one of the most unique Persian arts that combines a range of various materials such as wood, bone (mainly camel bone) and several precious metals into a wooden or metallic object. These materials are delicately cut into a collection of sizes and shapes that are then precisely glued next to each other to form magnificent designs. Various metals ranging from brass to silver or gold can be used in the Khatamkari designs that have a great impact on the final product value. Other materials such as ivory or ebony alongside the size cuts of the design pieces also can increase the value of the artwork. It is important to know that smaller material cuts and pieces are considered to increase the value of the Khatam art as more hard work, time and precision was put into the creation of the art.
Wooden or metal articles are used as a base for the materials and the materials are carefully laid and glued next to each other on these surfaces, therefore Khatamkari is a form of inlaying art. The material pieces laid next to each usually form various smaller patterns and geometrical shapes such as hexagons and stars. The designs are filled with material placed side by side each other and usually in every cubic centimeter over a 100 pieces of cut wood, bone and metal can be found.
Khatamkari is used to create various designer objects such as penholders, jewelry boxes, photo frames, pipes and chessboards. Larger objects are also amazingly designed with the inlaying art of Khatamkari. Desks, coffee tables, mirror frames, clocks and similar items can be found designed in Khatamkari and are considered grand designer items all around the world. Many Khatamkari items also have miniature paintings drawn in them which creates a perfect eastern art vibe for all tourists.
Since the Safavid era in Iran, the art of Khatamkari has had a special place in the wide Persian handicrafts range and in many of their palaces, mosques and monuments, this great art was used. Even today if tourists visit the many palaces and holy sites around Iran, the Khatamkari designs can be seen on some doors and window frames.
Tourists visiting the grand bazaars of Iran especially the Isfahan Grand Bazaar will be able to view various shops and workshops creating and selling a wide range of Khatamkari items. These items are great souvenirs to take from Iran and capture the history and culture essence of the Persian civilization and its masterful artists.