I shall tell you about a wonderful art of making wooden ceiling in Kashmir known as KHATAMBANDI. Brought to Kashmir from IRAN in 1541 by Mirza Hyder Douglat, Khatamband is an art of making ceiling, by fitting small pieces of wood (preferably walnut or deodar wood) into each other in geometrical patterns. All this is done entirely with hands without use of nails. The wood is processed, cut into buttons and panels and fixed in the ceiling in various floral and geometrical designs.
Indeed a painstaking work, which once used to take months to finish a 10 feet by 10 feet ceiling. The uniqueness of this art is that when the ceiling is complete, it acquires a unique geometrical pattern. With fewer or no nails used at all, the Khatamband ceiling can easily be dissembled and re-assembled at another place.
Earlier Khatamband used to be domain of shrines, palaces, houseboats and royal houses, but now every other person wants it for their house. There are more than 170 designs for the Khatamband in Kashmir, but today's artists can only reproduce about 100. Artists have however greatly compensated the lost designs with newer ones, where they experiment with mirror, colour combination and other things and there is no limit to their creativeness.
The names of designs are derived from various cities of Iran and central Asia. The Khatamband ceilings cost about Rs 140 /= per square foot. The art is also being exported. There are many Kashmiri artisans, who work for about three months outside in different states of India, fitting various houses, hotels and other malls with their creative genius.