Marquetry (KHATAM)

Khatam is a Persian version of marquetry, an art form made by decorating the surface of wooden articles with delicate pieces of wood, bones, and metal precisely cut geometric shapes. Khatam Kari is the art of making a Khatam.


Common materials used in the construction of inserts are gold, silver, brass, aluminum, and twisted wire. Works with smaller inlaid pieces are generally rated higher.

Designing inserted items is a very complex process. Up to 250 pieces of metal, bone, ivory, and wood are placed next to each other in every cubic centimeter of inlay work. Imported items in the Safavid dynasty were essential as artists created their precious works of art. These works include; Doors and windows, mirror frames, Quran boxes, inserted boxes, spring and spring holders, lanterns, and inserted shrines.