Pronunciation [ intär´sEu ]
An art or technique of decorating a surface with inlaid patterns, esp. of wood mosaic.
intär´sist -- a person who creates in or practices intarsia
Intarsia is thought to have been developed during the thirteenth century Renaissance period in Siena, Italy. The process was derived from the Middle Eastern inlays of ivory upon wood.
This art was widely practiced in Italy from c.1400 to c.1600. The fashion for intarsia declined thereafter, although some works in this medium were still produced.
Intarsia work was also practiced to a limited extent in eighteenth century Japan, Imperial Rome, Egypt, and Persia.
Intarsia is sometimes known as inlay. Inlay, however, is now more generally restricted to the true process as applied to objects of wood and as distinguished from parquetry and the veneered work of marquetry. Also mosaic, for stone and glass, and niello and damascening for metals.
Thanks to the efforts of people like David Irwin and Judy Gale Roberts who started doing intarsia in the seventies, and Jerry Booher, who joined Judy in the eighties. The art of intarsia was revived and improved to the form we love today.