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A guide to Jali furniture

Jali is appreciated in the interiors for its delicate beauty and the manner in which light filters through it. Though, inspired from an age-old architectural tradition, its availability is limited due to the skilled workmanship it requires. If you are considering on buying Jali furniture and need more information on it, read this guide for designs, applications, materials and availability.

Jali design

Jali furniture has been inspired from the Jali's work seen in Islamic and Indian architecture. The Jali was an architectural element which had perforated, latticed and filigreed work created by highly skilled drafts-men to convey intricate details and delicacy. In historical architecture, the Jalis were created in stone. Jali designs can involve simple lattice work with interlacing diagonal members. Designs inspired by geometric Islamic art, such as the star Jali, six-point and twelve-point are common. Other ornamental and decorative patterns feature floral motifs.

Application

Jali work is applicable to any aspect of furniture design. However, since it is appreciated for its beauty and the skilled craftsmanship results in high costs, it is popular for furniture items, where decor and art are important. This may be used in the living room seating, centre table, dining chairs, entryway chest of drawers or a bookshelf. Jali design is also used in wardrobes, bedside tables and dressers. In home designs with a very traditional Indian theme, it goes well with non-standard pieces like an indoor wooden swing called ‘jhoola’. Since the Jali works as a visual screen, it may be used for folding decorative partitions and room-dividers. More recently, made to measure panels inspired from, Jali work is also used as radiator covers and other confined spaces to allow ventilation while keeping the clutter out of sight.

Materials

Indian furniture uses hard-woods like sheesham for Jali furniture. Acacia is also suited for Jali furniture. However, Jali work is also done in hand-wrought iron. More recently, furniture made of MDF panels are used for radiator cabinets and are available as kits which are assembled and finished at home. MDF furniture is comparatively cheaper. Aesthetically, wood furniture is best suited to appreciate the Jali and usually has a hand-waxed finish. Due to their design, Jalis can collect dust easily. The furniture should be dusted regularly. Every three to four months, it should be waxed by using a soft cloth and superior quality beeswax.

Availability

Most furniture stores have a select collection of Jali pieces. It is easier to find Jali furniture online, antique stores or from stores specialising in traditional pieces. MDF Jalis businesses can be best searched online. Jalis introduce intricate artwork into everyday furniture items and can bring an exotic touch to your home.

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