Ivory, Wood, and Papier-mâché

In many ways, the same techniques are employed for ivory and wood when they are used for artistic embellishments. They can remain undecorated or can be carved, painted, or inlaid.

An object made from a single piece of ivory cannot exceed the size of the tusk, whether the ivory comes from an elephant or a walrus. Wood, in contrast, can be used for both small objects and very large architectural elements.

Although artists in the Islamic world had an abundant supply of both Indian and African ivory, the material was costly. The availability of wood varied more. In certain regions the material was common, in others so costly that wood from old structures was reused, even small pieces, for example combined in geometric panels or as inlaying material.

Papier-mâché is a cardboard-like substance made from paper pulp that was most often used for small objects, which were painted and lacquered.