Sambhal, in northern India, is the heart of India’s horn and bone industry – a waste material that artisans fashion into beautiful decorative pieces. What had been a trade to produce fashionable hair combs during the British Empire, has evolved into a much more expansive industry. Sawing, filing, and setting hundreds of pieces into complex patterns requires precision and a keen eye.
Materials and process
The art of shaping horn involves a delicate process of heating and stretching along natural curves to follow the graceful contours and swirling color gradations. Shape and pattern will dictate how artisans carefully cut and place pieces in intricate inlay designs and glue them onto a wood or aluminum base.