Stone Carving

Stone carving is a major handicraft of Orissa. It is evident from the innumerable archaeological monuments, rock-cut sculptures, caves and temples built for centuries and embellished with most beautiful and intricately carved statue and other adornments.The art of carving in stone had reached in Orissa dizzy heights of excellence perfected through centuries of disciplined efforts of generations of artisans. The huge repertoire of stone carving is best revealed in the architecture and rock-cut sculptures of Lingraja, Jagannath, Mukteshwara and the temple chariot of the Sun God at Konark. The beautiful stupas and monasteries like Lalitagiri Ratnagiri and Udayagiri have kept alive the sculptural traditions of their forefathers and their deft hands can and do chisel and carve exact replicas of the original temple sculptures besides producing a variety of other items.Unlike sculptors of other places, the artisans of Orissa are at home with a variety of materials. They handle with equal facility the ultra soft white soapstone, or "Khadipathara", as the slightly harder greenish chlorite or "Kochilapathara" and the still harder pinkish Khandolite or "Sahanapathara" or "Baulapathara" and the hardest of all black granite or "Mugunipathara.The craftsmen making these articles are concentrated at Baulagadia and Nilgiri. Among the former the ubiquitous "Alasa Kanyas" or indolent damsels and "Salabhanjikas", lady with the bough of a sal tree, "Surasundaris" heavenly beauties playing on different musical instruments adorning the topmost tier of the Konark temple, the "Nava Grahas" or nine deities representing the nine planets, Konark wheel, Konark horse, elephant, lion composite mythical figures like 'Gajabidala', 'Gajasimha' are quite popular. Other motifs include representation of deities of the Hindu pantheon like Krishna and Radha, Laxmi, Vishnu, Durga, Buddha, Ganesa, 'Haraparvati', Nrusingha etc. In recent times may decorative and utilitarian articles like ashtrays, paperweights, candle stands book rests are also being made.Only a few simple tools like hammers and chisels of various shapes and sizes better known as 'Muna', 'Patili', 'Martual', 'Thuk-Thuki' and 'Nihana'. Whether the stone is hard or soft a sort of outline is first drawn on the stone which is already cut to the appropriate size. Once the outline is incised indicating the shape, the final figure is brought out by removing the unwanted portions.

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