Intarsia is thought to have been developed during the thirteenth century Italian Renaissance. The process was derived from the Middle Eastern inlays of ivory upon wood.
This artform was widely practiced in Italy from the 1400 hundreds to the 1600 hundred A.D. The fashion for intarsia declined thereafter due to the intense labor process, although some works in this medium were still produced.
Intarsia was also practiced to a limited extent in eighteenth century Japan, Imperial Rome, Egypt, and Persia.
Intarsia was sometimes known as inlay. Inlay, however, is now more generally restricted to the true process as applied to objects of wood and as distinguished from parquetry and the veneered work of marquetry. It is thought that the word “intarsia” is derived from the Latin word ‘interserere’ which means “to insert”