The Zadibal Imambara was built in 1518, by Kaji Chak,and is one of the oldest historic places in Kashmir valley. This Imambara was destroyed a number of times and in 2004 it was taken down to restructure and rebuild.
I was very fortunate to be taken there by Hakim Sameer Hamdani who us tge design Director for Intach Srinagar and in charge of designing the ceiling.
What I saw was amazing.
Khatamband Literally coming to an end, closing and considering it’s origin and use in shrines has deeper spiritual meanings connected to Sacred geometry.
It is the art of making decorative ceiling, by fitting small pieces of polygonal wood of either walnut or deodar tree into each other in geometrical patterns,
And joining them with the help of beading panels. These beading are called gaj-patti.
The polygon is the posh or flower.
It’s painstaking work as no glue or nails are used in joining them.
Naqqashi, as I understood from Mr Hamdani is the art of painting/decorating these tiles. It is also calked gireh band or knotting together.
It’s sometimes erroneously called papier mache.
The origin of this exquisite art form is not known. While some attribute it to Mirza Hyder Tugluq in 1541,
Others say it was brought by the famous Sufi saint Mir Syed Ali Hamdani who visited Kashmir in 14th century along with his followers included Khatamband artists from Iran. These artisans passed on this art to locals here.
In order to preserve this beautiful art form, it was awarded a GI certificate in 2011 and there are around 600-700 artists.
A group of 10-15 would work under one master craftsman.
There are over 160 khatamband designs but only few are being made today due to the high level of skill and intricate involved.
More details in my video