Stone Craft in India
Stone craft existed in India since ancient times. Till today, excavations reveal carved stones which are 3000 years old. The stone craft of ancient times mainly involved carving of stones to make small weapons. Arrow heads, spears javelin points and hammers are made out of stone. These tools were used both for hunting and cooking. As the time passed, stone carving evolved into a form of art.
Procedure for making stone products
- The artisan first studies the stone and the natural design on it.
- Design is made on the slab and the rough figure is removed from the slab with the help of Hammer.
- After the rough figuring, shaping is done with the help of Chisel and Hammer. Minor carvings are generally done with the help of a pointed chisel.
- The stone is kept in boiling water overnight before carving. This process helps in smoothening and whitening of stone.
- Artisan sprinkles water in regular periods to avoid heat generation during carving.
- After the carving is done, the final figurine is smoothened with sand papers or files.
Types of stone craft in India
Rajasthan is called as the land of Marble. The lack of wood and abundance of stone has made the region renowned for the stone craft. Makrana, a place in Nagaur district of Rajasthan is the major source of Marble. Jaisalmer is referred to as a ‘dream in stone’. Jaipur also holds a special place in the marble market. Most of the marble idols in temples of North India are made in Jaipur. The temple idols are especially made in a place called ‘Khazane- walon- ka- rasta’ in Jaipur.
Stone carving has great prominence in the state of Odisha. The skill of the artisans can be witnessed in the magnificent temples like Parasurameswar, Mukteswar, Lingaraj, Puri, etc. The Sun temple at Konark is aptly called the ‘Wonder in Stone’. We can also find beautiful stupas and monasteries in Lalitgiri, Ratnagiri and Udaygiri.
In this state, the stone carving of Mauryan empire can be seen. The Mauryan period used a technique of high polish. The Ashoka pillar at Sarnath is the best example of Mauryan stone carving. The pillar is made up of Black stone with a touch of green in it. The stone has a special lustre to it.
‘Patharkatti’ in the Gaya district has a unique blue black pot stone. Buddhist icons are a specialty of this place. Other household items such as pestle and mortar are also available here.
Chandil and Karaikalla of singhbum district and Dumka in the Santhal paragana have a one of a kind green grained black soap stone.
The state is famous for the stone carved temples in Belur and Halebid. The state hosts the grand Hoysala architecture. The 57 feet tall Jain statue of Gomatesvara in Sravanabelagola is a remarkable work in stone sculpture.
Balaghat in Madhya Pradesh hosts a variety of green soft stone. The green stone is carved and sculpted by the local artisans into small items like boxes, animals, trays, et. Religious idols of this green stone are also quite famous.
The famous rock cut temples of Pallavas in Mahabalipuram occupy a special place in Indian history. The sculptures of Arjuna asking for penance on one knee, the hunting of pigeons, stag scratching its nose with hind leg, etc. found in these temples are so alive.