The tradition of woodcarving existed
in India from ancient times. The early wood -carved temples bear witness for
this. Wood -carved temples are surviving till date in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar
Pradesh.In India, each region has developed its own style of structures and
carvings. Local traditions and locally available wood varieties influence them
Number of folk forms has been developed
in woodwork all over India. Toys for children, utility goods and religious objects
are the main ones. Woodcarving also helps develop templates that today can be used for many things. Woodwork from India can give inspiration for decorating the home or designing.
The whole of North India has
a tradition of carved wooden doors with intricate designs, brass inlay
and trellis work for the windows.
which has extensive forests, has a rich tradition of wood works. Their
places of worship included large carvings of mythical figures like half-man,
garuda, hanuman, lion, etc. Also the carvers create a Simhasana wherein
they place the deity to be worshipped.
the clay houses have large wooden pillars and beams with intricate carvings.
Wooden table with
inlay work of Kashmir
the houses are lined with wood, with ceilings worked in geometrical patterns
and lattice- worked windows made up of pieces of wood locally known as
Pinjara. The state also
produces many wood carved items like furniture, screens, boxes, bowls,
etc. These are mostly prepared from walnut wood, which is in abundance
here. Decorative wood panels used for ceilings and pillars is a special
craft in Kashmir and it is called Khatamband.
too is rich in wood carving tradition. Sections of Ahmedabad city have
houses with carved facades. Balconies jut out of the houses with carved
and perforated patterns.
Tamilnadu has a well -developed
tradition of woodcarving used for decorating houses and temples. The Tanjore
dolls made of wood form a part of the rituals followed here and they are
also used for educating small children.
Pradesh has a tradition of manufacturing woodcarvings for
religious centers. The Tirupathi red dolls are meant for sales for the
pilgrims. In a village called Nirmal in
Andhra, carriers of the main deities called Vahanams are made by means
of a soft wood.Another village called Kondapalli is famous for its toys
made of Punki wood. Very meticulous attention is paid in their making.
state has one of the richest traditions in woodcarving. The houses here have
carved pillars and beams. Most of the houses have a carved family temple. Kerala
wood -carvers also work wonders on sandalwood and rosewood. Kerala woodcarvings
have strength of form, which is reminiscent of the murals and dance forms of
the area. Large wood carved figures are prepared in the round as well as in
old havelis have carved doors and windows. Woodcarving and inlay are now practiced
in Hoshiarpur. Jalandhar is specialized in lacquer- turned furniture.
Pradesh, Saharanpur is an important center in woodcarving. Screens
and room- dividers with carved patterns and ivory -inlays with minute details
are produced here. Nagina is another important wood carving center in U.P.
is an important center for Tarkashi, metal thread work, done in furniture.
Sankheda in Gujarat
is an important center for lathe- worked lacquered furniture. The surface is
painted with designs on a lacquered background. This is used to give silver-
like effect. Bedposts and cradles and toys for kids are also made here. Surat
has a tradition of marquetry work, which is also called Sadeli.
In this, different materials like ivory, ebony, sandalwood, metal having different
textures and colors are used. These materials are made into strips with their
width shaped as triangles, squares and circles. These are then joined by gum
to get a geometrical pattern. Theyare then cut across into thin strips and pasted
on a wooden background ,mostly boxes. Wooden blocks for printing in textiles
are also made in Gujarat. The design is first stenciled on the wood and then
the intervening spaces are chipped out.
Sandalwood box of Karnataka
Karnataka is specialised in sandalwood carving. Earlier the deities were carved out
of sandalwood but now boxes are their specialty. The Srigandha
variety of sandalwood
is used for this purpose. They have a distinctive aroma that sets them apart
from other woods. Large boxes covered with mythological scenes are an important
product of Mysore, Kumta and Sagar. In south Kanara, life-size wood carving
of Buddha figures is carried out. Mysore city developed an intricate form
of ivory -inlay on wood. The ceilings and doors of Mysore Palace are expressions
of this special skill of its artisans.
with carved patterns
wooden figures of Ghangore, a form of Parvathi is worshipped. These stylized
forms are manufactured in a village called Bassi in Chittogarh district.
The village also specializes
in making a wooden temple like structure, which can be folded into a book
form called Kavadh.
the main deity of the famed Puri temple, Lord Jagannath is reproduced
in wood. A number of wooden masks are also made for the traditional Sahi
has a tradition of manufacturing statues as well as Commemorative pillars
art of stone carving developed in India, a little later when compared to
woodcarving. India has a huge resource of different variety of stones and
our skilled craftsmen impart life into them. The Indian craftsman's mastery
over stone is best revealed in the architecture and sculptures found in
The intricate carvings found at Sanchi
are among the finest found anywhere in the world. Gaya, a pilgrim site for
the Buddhists also has an ancient tradition of stone carving.
Buddha stone image
carved in Tamilnadu
The ancient stone carvers were
guided by the Shilpa
Shastra, which clearly laid the rules for them. The main
deity was carved by specialists who were knowledgeable in the properties
of different stones, their grain, as well as their proportion needed for
The act of carving the deity
was considered as an act of worship and was considered as a sacred ritual.
Stone temples are built even today and the Sthapathis
of Tamilnadu as well as the Somapuras
of Gujarat and Rajasthan are in good demand throughout
Carved stone work of the Taj, Agra.
is an important center for stone carving works. Here a community of people
called the Raidas do
it. Around Varanasi, Hamirpur, Tehri Garhwal and Bageshwar are famous
for statue works whereas Banda is known for agate stone works.
in Uttar Pradesh is famous for its marble stone works. Many pieces like
lattice windows, mirror frames, carved brackets, canopies, pendants and
filigree works are carved here. The craftsmen are famous for their inlay
works. Mostly geometrical and floral patterns are worked on using colored
stones and semi precious ones.
Marble carving with
glassworks from Jaipur Palace
maintains a rich tradition of stone carving even in the common domestic
buildings. Doorframes are commonly built of red stones. Windows have stone
trellis works and even the supporting frame for the loom is made of carved
stones. Jaipur is one of the most important centers where a large community
of stone carvers carve deities in marble. Large commemorative stones are
a common sight in Rajasthan as well as in Gujarat.
also has a tradition of stone carving. Besides the main deity they also
carve figures for the temple friezes. Nowadays soft stones are used for
carving small souvenir items, which are meant for sales to the tourists.
in Tamilnadu deals with hard granite stone carvings. There
is also a school for training the Sthapathis according to the rules of
the ancient Shilpa Shastras.
Devanahalli a village near Mysore produces carved figures in relief on
black stone. The figures appear to have movement and strength in their
postures. The figures not only have the effect of light and shade and
a rounded form but also a linear quality.
Durgi, in Andhra
Pradesh is another stone carving center where large nandis,
bulls and local deity images are carved.
Ivory carved items
Ivory carving is
one of the most ancient crafts of India. Ivory is a precious material and
a difficult one to carve; yet the Indian craftsmen have mastered this art
from ancient times. Export of these ivory carved items continued from the
Roman times. The important centers for ivory carving are Trivandrum in Kerala,
Mysore and Bangalore in Karnataka, Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur in Rajasthan,
Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Amritsar in Punjab, Benrampore in West Bengal
and Ganjam and Puri in Odisha.
specializes in the carving of God and Goddesses images in Ivory. The carvings
are in the round and are based on the different styles of the temple sculptures
of the area. The master craftsmen of Kerala make many other figures with rhythmic
and expressive stances.
developed this craft under the patronage of the Royal court. The artists prepare
deities, carved bedposts and intricate inlay patterns for doors, windows and
In North India, ivory carving developed
during the reign of the Mughals. Delhi
are important centers noted for their floral motifs, geometrical patterns carved
in low relief or worked in fine Jali work. Small items like caskets and pen
cases are also produced. Fine latticework boxes are their other specialty. Delhi
is also known for its ivory costume jewellery.
and Gujarat ere important centers for ivory bangles for women.
The lathe- worked ivory bangles are lacquered in red and are given to the women
folk during their marriage.
Amritsar in Punjab developed ivory
carving during the Sikh rule. It is famous for table lamps, bracelets and chess
sets in ivory.
also produces many designs based on local traditions, as it is a big pilgrim
center for the Hindus and Buddhists.
Bengal has its
own style of carving based on local folk traditions. Intricately carved figures
of elephants and Goddess Durga are the common items done here.
also has an important tradition of ivory carving. Ancient temples and palaces
here have ivory carved items like the mithuna figure, etc.
Of late this craft is dying as the
Indian Government has bannedelephant poaching and on ivory- working. Hence the
carvers are turning onto other crafts particularly, bone- carving.
AND HORN CARVING
This craft has been prevalent in
India from ancient times. The tribals are usually associated with this craft.
The Himalayan tribals practice this craft for making ritual items.
In Odisha, bone carvings of animals
and mithuna figures are common. Carved combs of bones and horns are a specialty.
The most important centers include Sarai Tarin in Uttar Pradesh, Cuttack and
Parlakimedi in Odisha, Honawar in Karnataka and Trivandrum in Kerala. Decorative
combs, buttons, flower vases, penholders, cutlery items, toys are some of the
common items that are done in these places. The Horn combs prepared in India
are very popular throughout the world.
In Cuttack horn and filigree work
are combined to produce decorative jewels, bangles, etc. The craftsmen of Trivandrum
are famous for making different kinds of crane birds in horn.