Inlay is commonly used in the production of decorative furniture, where pieces of coloured wood, precious metals or even diamonds are inserted into the surface of the carcass using various matrices including clearcoats and varnishes.
These bronzes were inlaid with silver and gold, and were decorated with intricate designs and inscriptions. While the technique of metalworking originated in Persia, the trade routes in Mosul shaped it.
The earliest use of metalworking was with copper, but with the addition of zinc, copper became brass. In Islamic areas, brass was used to make large braziers and dishes, but soon became proficient in creating ewers, basins, and other bronzes.
These would then be decorated with gold and silver through the technique of inlaying. The process of inlaying a precious metal on top of a less precious one is evident on most of the bronzes that came from Mosul.
A group of craftsman centered in Mosul created the Mosul school, which created an improved way of inlaying metals. This technique would bypass the earlier method of inlaying, especially when it came to silver. Strips of silver and gold were placed on undercut bronze and brass pieces in a way that when finished would show no irregularity.
This technique was later brought to other cities, including Damascus. The technique of Damascene, named after the city of Damascus, involved the metal being inlayed to be softer than the substrate metal;