Jali: intricate ornamental openwork in wood, metal, stone, etc.

jali or jaali, is the term used for a perforated stone or latticed screen, usually with an ornamental pattern constructed through the use of calligraphy and geometry. This form of architectural decoration is found in Indian architecture, Indo-Islamic Architecture and Islamic Architecture.

Early jali work was built by carving geometric patterns into stone, while later the Mughals used very finely carved plant-based designs, as at the Taj Mahal. They also often added pietra dura inlay to the surrounds, using marble and semi-precious stones.

The jali’s help in lowering the temperature by compressing the air through the holes. Also when the air passes through these openings, its velocity increases giving profound diffusion. It has been observed that humid areas like Kerala and Konkan have larger holes with overall lower opacity when compared to dry climatic regions such as Gujarat and Rajasthan.

With compactness of the residential areas in the modern India, jalis became less frequent for privacy and security matters. Now they are being used mainly for aesthetic purposes. With changing times the materials used also saw a huge variation. Stone & wood started being replaced with steel & MDF.

A heavy loss of craftsmanship also made it’s use scarce. But with technological advancement we can now easily cut patterns through steel, mdf, wood, acrylic and pvc using laser cutting technology. Not just these materials, but we can also cut intricately beautiful patterns on stone, granite, glass, and what not with the help of waterjet technology.

Here’s a list of beautiful jali patterns cut out of 21 different materials:

1. Stone jali

2. Wooden jali

3. Steel jali  

4. Acrylic jali

5. MDF jali

6. PVC jali

7. Marble jali

8. Granite jali

9. Glass jali

10. Corian jali

11. Paper jali

12. Onyx jali

13. Sandstone jali

14. Aluminium jali

15. Copper jali

16. Ceramic jali

17. Fabric jali

18. Leather jali

19. Pop/ Cement board jali

20. Cork jali

21. Terracotta jali

These were just a few selected pieces of art from a gallery of 1000’s of beautiful jali’s. Further, these materials have a number of beautiful finishes & colour options to choose from. Each material different in its properties, used for varied purposes.