Pietra Dura Chess Board Marble Table

Pietra Dura Chess Board Marble Table

Pietra Dura Chess Board Marble Table

STUNNING ‘Pietra Dura” style marble table with incorporated chess board on BEAUTIFUL and UNUSUAL tripod table stand.

Indian or South East Asian…..but most likely Indian.

The board is hexagonal in shape and measures 18′ x 18’.

The center of the chess board is made of alternating green and black marble squares.

The edges are BEAUTIFULLY inlaid with various polished stones and marbles in  floral motifs.

Classic ‘pietra dura’ style !!

Probably made in the early-20th Century……circa 1930.

The stand is very unusual. It has 3 legs that end in hairy goats feet.

A  carved circular base plate and 3 turned support columns with inlaid banding and swirl decoration on the circular base plate.

It is reminiscent of furniture made in Goa, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka).


Pietra dura (Italian: [ˈpjɛːtra ˈduːra]) or pietre dure [ˈpjɛːtre ˈduːre] (see below), called parchin kari or parchinkari in South Asia, is a term for the inlay technique of using cut and fitted, highly polished colored stones to create images. It is considered a decorative art. The stonework, after the work is assembled loosely, is glued stone-by-stone to a substrate after having previously been "sliced and cut in different shape sections; and then assembled together so precisely that the contact between each section was practically invisible". Stability was achieved by grooving the undersides of the stones so that they interlocked, rather like a jigsaw puzzle, with everything held tautly in place by an encircling 'frame'. Many different colored stones, particularly marbles, were used, along with semiprecious, and even precious stones. It first appeared in Rome in the 16th century, reaching its full maturity in Florence. Pietra dura items are generally crafted on green, white or black marble base stones. Typically the resulting panel is completely flat, but some examples where the image is in low relief were made, taking the work more into the area of hardstone carving.

Pietra dura developed from the Ancient Roman opus sectile, which at least in terms of surviving examples, was architectural, used on floors and walls, with both geometric and figurative designs. In the Middle Ages cosmatesque floors and small columns etc. on tombs and altars continued to use inlays of different colours in geometric patterns. Byzantine art continued with inlaid floors, but also produced some small religious figures in hardstone inlays, for example in the Pala d'Oro in San Marco, Venice (though this mainly uses enamel). In the Italian Renaissance this technique again was used for images. The Florentines, who most fully developed the form, however, regarded it as 'painting in stone'.

As it developed in Florence, the technique was initially called opere di commessi (approximately, "Fitted together works"). Medici Grand Duke Ferdinando I of Tuscany founded the Galleria di'Lavori in 1588,[2] now the Opificio delle pietre dure, for the purpose of developing this and other decorative forms.

A multitude of varied objects were created. Table tops were particularly prized, and these tend to be the largest specimens. Smaller items in the form of medallions, cameos, wall plaques, panels inserted into doors or onto cabinets, bowls, jardinieres, garden ornaments, fountains, benches, etc. are all found. A popular form was to copy an existing painting, often of a human figure, as illustrated by the image of Pope Clement VIII, above. Examples are found in many museums. The medium was transported to other European centers of court art and remained popular into the 19th century. In particular, Naples became a noted center of the craft. By the 20th century, the medium was in decline, in part by the assault of modernism, and the craft had been reduced to mainly restoration work. In recent decades, however, the form has been revived, and receives state-funded sponsorship. Modern examples range from tourist-oriented kitsch including syrupy reproductions of 19th century style religious subjects (especially in Florence and Naples), to works copying or based on older designs used for luxurious decorative contexts, to works in a genuinely contemporary artistic idiom.

Parchin kari

By the early part of the 17th century, smaller objects produced by the Opificio were widely diffused throughout Europe, and as far East to the court of the Mughals in India, where the form was imitated and reinterpreted in a native style; its most sumptuous expression is found in the Taj Mahal. In Mughal India, pietra dura was known as Parchin kari, literally 'inlay' or 'driven-in' work.[7]

Due to the Taj Mahal being one of the major tourist attractions, there is a flourishing industry of Pietra Dura artifacts in Agra ranging from tabletops, medallions, elephants and other animal forms, jewellery boxes and other decorative items. This art form is fully alive and thriving in Agra, India though the patterns in the designs are more Persian than Roman or Medician.

Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pietra_dura


In SUPER Condition.....one minor repair that is hardly noticeable to one of the chess board squares.

These pieces of art are highly sought after.....PARTICULARLY one's of this QUALITY !!

The fact that it is also a chess board on a stand only adds to its desirability !

Pietra Dura Chess Board Marble Table.

Provenance: Bought from an Estate Sale in Dallas

Dimensions: The table top is 18' x 18"

The Table with top is 31" tall and the base has a width of 15" at the feet

Condition: Excellent

Price: $1,600.00. Sale Price Now: $1,250.00