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  • 1000-petalled Lotus

Stone
20th century
Rajasthan, Western India

The introduction of the gang saw (a power tool with multiple blades that cuts stone into slabs of calibrated width) greatly added to the efficiency of stonework. It also generated edge slabs and odd-shaped bits of stone as a waste by-product. The craft of stone overlay, relatively new to Rajasthan, arose as a way of reusing this scrap material creatively. For tabletops such as this example, a circular slab of marble, usually of inferior quality, is used as a base. It is coated with geru or red colour, and a grid – in this case, a radial, is drawn on it. The forms are then mapped out and overlaid with similarly shaped stones of the desired colours. The stones are affixed using a paste of dolomite powder and resin. Once dry, the entire surface is polished using a machine.

Typically, kadappa stone or black marble is used for the black areas; white marble for the white areas; sandstone or kaushalya stone for the ochre areas; jasper for the green areas; lapis lazuli or blue coral for the blue areas.

The design featured on this tabletop is a variation of the thousand petalled lotus, a metaphor of spiritual awakening in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Each petal of the lotus is believed to represent the unfolding of one aspect of the self on the path to enlightenment. Here, the petals have been transformed into peacock feathers, a symbol of the Hindu deity Krishna.

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