Khatam means incrustation in Persian and Khatamkari refers to incrustation work. It consists in the production of incrustation patterns (generally star shaped) with thin sticks of wood (ebony, teak, zizyphus, orange, rose), brass (golden parts) and camel bones (white parts). Ivory, gold or silver can also be used for collection objects.
Many objects can be decorated in this fashion, such as jewelry/decorative boxes, chessboards, pipes, desks, frames or some musical instruments. Khatam can also be used in Persian miniatures, making it a more attractive work of art. This craft was so popular in the court during the Safavid period that princes learned it at the same level of music or painting.
Based on techniques imported from China and improved by Persian know-how, khatam has existed for more than 700 years and is still practiced in Shiraz and Isfahan.