In the Punjab region, wood inlay work took off approximately 200-250 years. Initially the artists started doing inlay work on Indian musical instruments such as Piano keys, Veena, Swarmandal, Taanpoora and Sitar but with the passage of time, the artists started manufacturing furniture items such as inlaid tables, chairs, wooden almirahas, jewellery boxes, chest boxes, trays and other items of daily use and decorated them with ivory. At that time, use of high quality Sasoo (shisham) wood, Rose wood, Teak (saagwan) wood, Abnoy and other harden wood was prevalent on which the inlay work with ivory was in fashion. However, on account of its growing popularity in India and abroad, its export came into existence in Hoshiarpur in the year 1950, and a few businessmen established their export houses.
Wooden products of Hoshiarpur due to its unique craftsmanship occupied a considerable place in various news items, magazines and other circular papers. But rapidly growing scarcity of ivory, ban on use and sale of ivory in any form was imposed by the Government of India in the year 1975 as such use of ivory was replaced with gold inlay work, silver inlay work, aluminium, brass, camel bone, sankh, pearl and best quality of acrylic plastic. By the end of decade 1980-90, approximately 1700 families adopted this work as their profession and started increased earning and livelihood out of it and gradually they became skilful artists in inlay work. Owing to exploitation of the working class by the reputed business houses and less availability of raw material, most of the families engaged in this profession have separated themselves and their successors switched over to other profession. However, under the government patronage and efforts of its functionaries, this profession is still alive though at the lingering stage.
Now-a-days, a few people learn this unique art just for their loving nature or as a part of their study project. If no concrete efforts are made for the growth of this art, its future seems to be dark in the prevalent scenario and circumstances though there is fervent demand of these antique products which is growing day by day. It is a matter of great proud that the creation of Artists Atta Singh finds a gracious place in the UK museum. Appreciating the uniqueness of this art, our Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi presented a chest decorated with the designs created with inlay work on a Shisham wood to the Honourable President of USA Shri Donald Trump. It has injected a great sense of enthusiasm and courage amongst the artisan class of Hoshiarpur City.