Soapstone from Agra

These Indian artisanal marble and soapstone creations exude a rich, cultural aesthetic. Each item is unique and handcrafted with intricate detailing and fine hand carving by the artisans of Agra. Agra is well-known for the iconic Taj Mahal and has remained a hub for marble and stone crafts. Some artisans are the 14th and 15th generation descendants of Persian architects who helped build the magnificent marble Colosseum. Although new, perhaps more efficient techniques are available in our day and time, the marble and soapstone artisans of Agra prefer to stick to the roots. They tend to work with rudimentary, hand-held tools such as sharp chisels, hammers, cutters and simple lathes. This showcases their superior craftsmanship, which is very hard to replicate.

Soapstone is a very soft mineral that contains mostly talc and is soapy to the touch, which is where the material gets its name from. Before beginning the carving process, the raw soapstone is shaped and sculpted using a hammer and chisel to create the desired form of the end product. The craftsmen then mark the outline of the design using a compass. The designs, which are often of botanical, floral and geometric nature, are etched into the product using a pointed chisel. The carving is done with various grades of flat chisels and hammers. The stone block is then embossed, filed and polished. This completes the process of these one of a kind pieces.

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