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Khatam-kari is the art of incrustation of objects with the specific patterns (generally symmetrical shapes like star-shaped), using different kinds of thin wood sticks including: teak, ebony, ziziphus, orange and rose. Wood sticks are not the only fragments of this meticulous art and some other ingredients are used in it like brass (for golden parts), camel bones (white parts) and ivory. Gold or silver can also be used for ornamental objects. These sticks are assembled in triangular beams, assembled and glued in a strict order to form a geometrical motif such as a six-branch star included in a hexagon. At times, cylinders (assembled motifs) are cut into smaller cylinders and then compressed and dried between two wooden surfaces, before being cut for the last time, in about 1 mm wide tranches. Finally, these sections are ready to be plated and glued on the desired object, before lacquer finishing.
The tranche can also be softened through heating in order to wrap around objects. Lots of objects could be decorated using this way, like jewellery boxes, chessboards, pipes, desks, frames or musical instruments, book holders, wall clocks, pens and pen holders, bines, etc.
Khatam is beside Muarraq one of the finest Persian/Iranian wooden Handicrafts. Persian micro-mosaic Inlay work is called Khatam. Khatam is the Persian marquetry (Persian intarsia), a mosaic-like inlay of contrasting materials such as bone, mother-of-pearl, woods of various colors, metal precisely-cut from gold, silver, brass in geometrical shapes. Khatamkari is the art of crafting a Khatam. Khatam works with smaller inlaid pieces are generally more highly valued.