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Swarna 080628

Stone Carving
The beautiful temples that dot the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu have lent the state the sobriquet of "land of temples". The glory of Tamil temple architecture reaches its pinnacle in the Meenakshi temple at Madurai. The temple with its profusion of sculpture and magnificent proportions, the thousand-pillared mandapas and the pillars of stone, towering gopurams (gateway) and largerthan-life-sized reliefs speak highly of the architectural skills of the Tamil sculptors.

The sculptors fine sense of balance and skill is also displayed in the other temples of the state. At Chidambaram, one finds beautiful panels depicting the 108 karanas of the Natya Shastra while Kanchipuram houses a number of the temples starting from the earliest Pallava times to the Nayak period and even later. The artistic achievements of the Tamil sculptors are also displayed at the grand Ekambareshwara Temple and the Varadaraaja Temple.

The granite carving in Tamil Nadu is confined to the area around Mamallapuram (also Mahabalipuram) and Chingleput. This may be attributed to the fact that the government has set up the Mamallapuram School of Sculpture here. Just as in bronze, the 20th-century sculpture has not yet evolved an idiom of its own and many of the carvings are copies of the earlier periods.

The quality of the material is an extremely important part of the sculptural process. Just as the Shilpa Shastra set out the measurements and techniques of sculpting, the sculptors here have also gone into a detail regarding the quality of stone, its maturity, texture, colour and other things. The artists out here work with the indigenous varieties of the stone available in the state, as it is extremely durable for construction purposes. Also the homogeneity of the stone is important for the stability and durability of the final form.

Stone carving is an ancient activity where pieces of rough natural stone are shaped by the controlled removal of stone. Owing to the permanence of the material, evidence can be found that even the earliest societies indulged in some form of stone work. Work carried out by paleolithic societies to create flint tools is more often referred to as knapping. Stone carving that is done to produce lettering is more often referred to as lettering.

Stone carving differs from stone as in marble quarrying in that it is the act of shaping or incising the stone, whereas quarrying is the activity of acquiring useful stone, usually in blocks, from geological sources. The term stone carving is of particular significance to sculptors being a reference to a particular way of producing sculpture, as opposed to modelling in clay or casting. The term also refers to the activity of masons in dressing stone blocks for use in architecture, building or civil engineering. It is also a phrase used by archaeologists, historians, and anthropologists to describe the activity involved in making

Stone carving from Orissa These are the beautiful stone carvings of Orissa exhibited in the Crafts Fair held at Surajkund in Haryana. It is an annual fair organized by Haryana Tourism to promote Indian handicraft and handloom tradition and for the craft enthusiasts; this fair is a must-to-be-included item in their travel plan.

Stone carving is a major handicraft of Orissa. The craftsmen of Orissa specialize in making figures and icons of soap stone and granite. Many of the carved figures are those of gods, goddesses, Buddha, nymphs and mother and child. Along with these, various beautiful dance poses are also carved from these stones.

Stone carving in india

The geologically old land of Rajasthan, rich in different kinds of


hard rocks like granites, marbles, quartzite, slates, and other metamorphic rocks, has been a stone-carver's paradise. Right from the medieval times, the ready availability of high-quality stone (the use of brick was almost unknown) made it easy for the Rajasthani builder to construct strong and beautiful forts, palaces, and temples. The sculptures found in the ancient and medieval temples of Bharatpur, Baroli, Ramgarh, Nagda, Ajmer, Chittor, Mandore, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Udaipur speak highly of the artistic skills of the Rajasthani stonecutters. Apart from temple carvings, the stone carvers of Rajasthan are noted for their jali (latticework) carvings. Most ancient palatial buildings of Rajasthan sport jali work on their doors and windows. The jali screens, sculpted from both sandstone and marble, were frequently used in the windows of the zenanas (women's quarters) enabling the women in purdah to view the events of the courts without being seen. The screens also offered protection from the elements while allowing the passage of fresh air through the intricate geometric patterns.

Stone Sculpture Carving in India

There is a lot of very difficult work that goes into the carving of one of Lotus Sculpture's granite statues. In this section we will out line the process of carving and how we get from a raw piece of stone to one of our magnificent stone sculptures! The process is mainly in three separate parts; 1. Acquiring and cutting of the stone 2. The rough cut of the sculpture 3. and carving and filing of the details of the piece.

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Acquiring and Cutting the Raw Stone

The artists must first obtain a large stone by going to the stone quarry where the large stones are harvested. It is very difficult to find a large enough stone to carve a large piece of over 6 feet. Most larger pieces of stone in the quarry have cracks in them.

The original stone for this raw stone which will eventually be a 6 foot Buddha weight

If a crack is undetected by an artist and the carving is started the sculpture will often break during the carving process. This large 7 foot piece of stone was going to be a standing Hanuman statue. There was a crack that was undetected at the top of the piece and the top piece broke off the stone as you can see by the outline of the Hanuman statue on the stone.

The raw stone usually weighs about 2.5 times the amount of the finished sculpture. For a Buddha statue that weighs 4000 pounds when completed the raw stone weighs approximately 10,000 pounds. Thus a large crane is used to move the stone. The cranes are rented by the artist by the hour.

Not all sculptures are 6 feet tall! When the artists need to cut the stone to make smaller pieces they use many small chisels inserted into carved holes in the stone. They then use a large sledgehammer to gradually hammer in each of the small chisels into the stone. This eventually causes a crack in the stone.

Once the artist has the raw piece of stone it is shaped into a block that can be worked with. They use large cutting chisels designed to break off large chunks of rock to shape the rock. Click here to go to the next step of the process;

Stone Carving in India

The stone-carving tradition in India is one of the richest in the world. Guilds of masons and stone carvers have existed here since the 7th century B.C. The skills were handed down as family lore from father to son, a practise prevalent in some parts of the country even today. The classical tradition of stone carving was closely linked with architecture. All major temples of India-be it Puri, Konark, Khajuraho, Kailash Temple, or the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram-illustrate the rich tradition of Indian stone carvings.

The geologically old land of Rajasthan, rich in different kinds of hard rocks like granites, marbles, quartzite, slates, and other metamorphic rocks, has been a stone-carver's paradise. Right from the medieval times, the ready availability of high-quality stone (the use of brick was almost unknown) made it easy for the Rajasthani builder to construct strong and beautiful forts, palaces, and temples. The sculptures found in the ancient and medieval temples of Bharatpur, Baroli, Ramgarh, Nagda, Ajmer, Chittor, Mandore, Jaisalmer, Bikaner, and Udaipur speak highly of the artistic skills of the Rajasthani stonecutters. Apart from temple carvings, the stone carvers of Rajasthan are noted for their jali (latticework) carvings. Most ancient palatial buildings of Rajasthan sport jali work on their doors and windows. The jali screens, sculpted from both sandstone and marble, were frequently used in the windows of the zenanas (women's quarters) enabling the women in purdah to view the events of the courts without being seen. The screens also offered protection from the elements while allowing the passage of fresh air through the intricate geometric patterns

Rajasthan continues to be one of major centres of stone carving in the country. The capital city Jaipur is the centre of marble carving in Rajasthan. Here one can see artisans creating marble images of the deities as well as domestic utensils such as bowls for grinding spices and kneading dough. At Ajmer, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Bikaner, one comes across some very fine examples of the intricate jali work done on screens and panels of the royal palaces

The fine quality of marble and sandstone extracted from the numerous quarries in the state had given rise to a tradition of stonemasons and sculptors. The quarries at Makrana are quite famous, for it is from these quarries that the marble used in the Taj Mahal was mined. Also built using marble from Makrana mines were the exquisite Dilwara Jain temples at Mt Abu. Rupbas (near Agra) and Karauli still produce the red sandstone that was used by the Mughals to build their forts and palaces at Agra, Delhi, and Fatehpur Sikri. In east Rajasthan, Kota produces grey stone for floor making, Barmer produces yellow marble for delicate carvings, and Ajmer produces granites.

The soft chromatic stone mined from the quarries of Dungarpur are used by the stone carvers of the state for carving images of the deities. The stone becomes black when oiled. As the subject matter of these images is divine, the sculptors are required to work according to the guidelines laid down in the Shilpa Shastra, an ancient Hindu treatise on sculpture and architecture.

The religious themes are carved in stone all over the state. One can see the lifelike images being skilfully sculptured in different varieties of stone across the state. In Jaipur, white marble is used for carving out statues of gods and goddesses as well as animal and human figures.