The visually lyrical short documentary From the Hand of Man follows the process of artisans as they inlay marble with calligraphy made from lapis stone for the Haram in Mecca. The inlayed panels placed together contain verses from the Holy Quran extending along 2.5 square kilometres of marble.
This documentary gifts viewers with a glimpse into the world of modern Islamic artistry and follows the creation of a set of unique marble slabs inlayed with stunning calligraphy. This task is undertaken by a group of specialised artisans in India who through love of their art and respect for its history endeavour to keep these ancient traditions alive.
This short feature follows the crafting of a set of stunning marble slabs inlayed with Quranic calligraphy designed for an extension that was being built to the Haram Sherif in Mecca. The undertaking is great and carries with it enormous responsibility, however Saray Design is no stranger to such pressures.
Based in India and made up of a few select craftsmen (some of whom are descendants of the artisans who worked on the Taj Mahal) Saray Design was founded by Mitchell Abdul Karim Crites who, after seeing the potential their immense talent held, expanded the company to work on large Islamic art commissions from around the world. Crites deems his artists to be the best in the world and sees the preservation of their specific expertise as his personal responsibility. He also aims to foster an appreciation for Islamic material culture in younger artisans in hopes of continuing these beautiful traditions for many generations to come.
Although all the production of their art is done in India, their work draws on Muslim artistic excellence from all over the world. For this particular piece the calligraphy was designed by a master in Turkey and the company only uses materials from long-established sources, including lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and slabs of marble from south-east Asia, to ensure the expected excellence of quality. These materials have been highly valued and sought after for thousands of years in the Islamic world and beyond, with Saray Design continuing this rich and proud tradition.
From the art’s conception to its detailed creation through to the finishing gold-leaf touches this film celebrates the unseen labour and unsung artists that have and continue to define Islamic art. Just like their perfected methods, their techniques and devotion have remained unchanged over the centuries. Their work can best be described as a labour of love, with a team numbering over 700 artists and masters to complete just this one project. This short documentary is both aesthetically breathtaking and serves as a reminder of Islam’s rich cultural heritage, aspects that will appeal to all audiences.