White makrana quarried from the Rajasthan and other parts of India like Fatehpur sikri and Agra, served as a royal stone for the Mughals who used it extensively for the construction of various tombs and palaces. Its durability can easily be witnessed from its finest product in the form of Taj mahal. Moreover it also becomes easier for the craftsman to carve intricate floral designs because of its finer structure. These makrana marble carving in the form of jali work has always been a speciality of the Indian craftsmen who work on these rigid geometrical designs with extreme precision. Its resistance to shattering gives it an edge over other stones used for carving and sculpting. Besides makrana, alabaster is also popular in Agra due to its softness and close resemblance to marble. Alabaster is a common name for soft, smooth and fine grained sedimentary gypsum rock, whose substantial thickness makes it slight translucent. It is used to make table lamp shades as it allows the light to pass through it. It is also used to make products such as containers, and various egg shaped decorative objects with the forms carved in floral jaali.Depending upon the natural formation, alabaster can be divided into four different types:
• Calcite alabaster
• Gypsum alabaster
• Black alabaster
• Boulder alabaster
The various tools and raw materials used for carving can be listed as below:
• Flat Chisel (chheeni):
It is used to carve out the fine details on the surface of the marble.
• Cold Chisel (tanki):
It helps to cut through the raw marble slab to get the basic shape of the desired product like a box or a spherical lamp, on which the designs would be carved.
• Hammer (hatora):
This tool is used to drive the chisel through the raw marble for both sculpting and carving.
Used for fine tuning the designs.
• Pen Drill (barma):
It is used to make rough outlines of the patterns on the surface of the marble .This tool is also used for carving the designs.
• Divider (prakaar):
To draw outlines in the form of concentric circles for geometric patterns.
• Buffing Machine:
This tool polishes the carved surface to make it smooth.
• Makrana Marble:
This kind of white marble is quarried from Rajasthan.
Basically gypsum and black alabasters are used for carving.