Bone Carving



Bone carving is a prehistoric art which involves the process of carving animal bones especially the antlers' horns. Carving of the bone results in embellishment of a bone and thereby the creation of a figure. Bone has been used also from ancient times for making utility articles as well as decorative ones. Camel bone, and animal bones have been carved into combs and jewellery mounted in silver in India from ancient days. After the ban on the sale of ivory, bone inlay work and bone- carved handles and jewellery have received an impetus as a cheaper alternative to ivory. Various items like carved boxes, bracelets, portraits, and other objects are made with bones and they were quite popular among foreign shoppers in India.
-India traded in ivory with Europe for quite a long time. Historical reports say that in the 10th. century B.C., King Solomon received Indian ivories and in the 6th. century B.C. Indian ivory was used in decorating the royal palace at Susa built by Darius 1. In the early Christian Era, Indian ivory was used for making statues, book covers, and musical instruments in Rome and other European countries. To day , ivory is sold in black market at extraordinary prices and has to be crafted in secret and sold secretly.

Bone carving is most commonly considered as a legal substitute for ivory carving and is being practiced by a number of world cultures. This prehistoric art of bone carving came up with significant figures taken from mythology. Lot of chests were made by the bone carving and also sometimes artists and craftsmen who deal with metal works try their patterns on bones. Bone carving can be experienced with a different and special feel unlike any other art form. They are featured with a milky white appearance and soft flowing lines. The feel of the bone carved ornaments or products gives a very soft and warm feel when you touch and gives a polished glass appearance which goes very well with one's body and especially when worn against the skin as a pendant. Hence Indian Bone carved products have earned a specil niche in the international crafts market.
Hook Bone Carving

-This is also popularly known as Hei-Matau Bone Carvings which involves the fish hook bone carvings on pendants. These ornamental pendants are usually said to represent prosperity, abundance, fertility and strength.

When this is worn it is believed to bring good luck to those who especially travel in water. The Maori people have high regard for these symbols as they consider it to be symbols of power and authority.

The fish hook bone carvings are also value added by incorporation of inlays of beautiful shells.

Twist Bone Carving
- This is also known as Koru Bone Carving. The twist in this type of bone carving is mainly said to indicate eternity and the coming together of cultures. The art of twist bone carving is a mix of traditional styles that don't fit into other areas. They have exclusive patterns like the sacred Tiki along with some that are based on figures from the carvings found on war canoes and buildings.This type of bone carving is something which is very similar to the twist bone carving. In this, the twist is highlighted

with a criss cross which explains that there are different paths in life and love and ultimately it means the eternity symbol. The single twist in particular shows the joining together of two people for eternity. Even though they sometimes move away from each other on their own journeys, they will always come together again sharing their lives and blending to become one. The eternity bone carving mainly depicts whatever may be the path in life ultimately it is the love which will last forever.
-This is the modern bone carving which is a mix of traditional style of bone carving along with contemporary designs. Some of the designs done with the modern bone carving are more of Celtic or oriental designs.
Dolphin Bone Carving
-Though the fall of the Mughals in Indian also paved for the decline of the art of the bone carving work which also led to the diminish of the craftsmen. But however the industry has regained its strength to produce excellent marble inlaid work. Latest water jet cutting technology is used to get intricate and detailed work. But however now technology has improved to a great extent even in this field for there are experts who can produce a sculpture with CAD or printed drawings. In the process of sculpting a bone first involves the selection of the bone for carving. The artist follow two ways either they directly carve out on the bone or some may even make a model of the one which has to be carved with either clay or wax and then proceed further by copying it on the bone. Copying is again not an easy way for they have to with calipers or pointing machine.
CARES NEEDED IN BONE CARVING Care should be taken for the bone carvers are exposed to lot of bone dust which may lead to many respiratory diseases or the bone dust is not very good for the lungs. It is always advisable to use a carbon filter respirator when the craftsmen work on the bone as it gives out a disgusting smell. A diamond bit, a drill bit and sanding bits with sand paper are the main equipments required for bone carving. Once the pattern is fixed then the template is traced on the bone. Then sand down the edges of the bone until it is flat. The pater is then roughly cut using a jewelery saw with at least 3/4 a centimeter around the pattern. The edges of the blank are then rounded off using dremel and sandpaper bit.Once this done the rest of the pattern is done with care. Finally holes are drilled on those areas which have to be removed. There can be no two pieces done by carving to be similar because it is crafted by hand portraying a traditional story with exotic inlays of shell or precious stones. Any artifact of a bone carving is displayed or sold with a braided or plaited waxed braid cord with bound in loop and toggle, along with woven native flax bag designed to show of the traditional styling and beauty of the carving.
BONE CARVING PRODUCT- It carries a sheet of information which details about the meaning of the carving and a short note about the people who carved it. Usually for a big and embellished carving, the cords are made from several strands of fine waxed braid hand twisted or plaited to form a durable cord with a very traditional feel and look .These thick cords have a bound loop and carved bone with a pearl or a jade toggle which is very much like the natural color cord. Whereas the cords for a smaller carving is usually made of a soft and strong waxed braid with a traditional look and highly substantial at all conditions. The cords are either tied with a bound loop and bone or a jade toggle or otherwise just a simple cord with only two slips knots. In most cases the cord is attached by being looped through the carving so it can be easily removed but in some of the larger or more ornate pieces the cord is actually woven into the carving becoming an integral part of the design.A woven flax material is used to design a small bag or a pouch to take away the bone carving.
1. Shrinath Art Gallery, Jaipur A- 20, Galta Road Ramganj Bazaar, Jaipur - 302003, Rajasthan, India, Ph: 08447563680
2. Ashoka Arts & Exports, Udaipur 2 A, Hari Das Ji Ki Magri, Trident Main Road , Udaipur - 313001, Rajasthan, India. Ph: 0995335607
3. Paramparik Karigar, Mumbai Flat No. 5, 2nd Floor 10, Kumaram Abdul Gaffar Khan Road, Worli Sea Face, Mumbai - 400018, Maharashtra, India. Ph: +(91)-22-65811059
4. Barmer Art & Craft, Udaipur 1st Floor,176, Moti Magri Scheme , Udaipur - 313004, Rajasthan, India +(91)-294-2521392
5. Indraprastha, Bikaner Inside First Lane, Khajanchi Market , Bikaner - 334 001, Rajasthan, India. Ph: +91-9214405632
6. Sikandra Stonecraft, 192, Taru Chaya Nagar, Tonk Road, Sanganer Hardev Colony, Jagatpura, Jaipur, Rajasthan. Ph: 094 14 216448