The Taj Mahal.
Saying its name immediately conjures a picture in everyone’s mind: perfect symmetry and pristine white. It achieves the impossible, a grand structure creating an image of pure serenity.
But look closer. No… even closer. The Taj Mahal is covered with an intricate lacework of marble inlay. Yes, it is a grand structure, but it is comprised of myriad small stones fitted together so perfectly that you imagine it is just one single piece. It is the work of countless artisans who cut and shaped and fitted every piece into this marvelous whole.
The descendants of these nameless artists still practice their craft in the workshops of Agra. They sit cross-legged on the floors of their shops, holding bits of marble against a rotating grind wheel. Working day after day, their fingers are slowly whittled down as well. If asked, they will show your their hands, with the index fingers shaped to an angled point. They smile with pride, knowing they are part of a tradition that has created the most sublime of structures. There is something pristine in their love of their ancient art.