HISTORY OF ORISSA STONE CRAFTINGStone carvings of Orissa dates back to the 13th century A.D, which was contemporary to the Kalinga School of medieval North Indian architecture. The state of Orissa in India is known for its rich cultural and artistic inheritance. Orissa a traditionally old state was ruled by many rulers in the past because of which various fields including arts and crafts underwent lot of changes thereby resulting in an imaginative state of diverse features in all art related field like traditional handicrafts, painting and carving, dance and music. Orissa is very popular across the globe for its traditional stone working and other major handicrafts of the state include applique work, brass and bell metal, silver filigree, Lacquer, Papier Mache, and tribal combs, handlooms and wood work. Arts and crafts in Orissa are wide like the ocean which is fascinating and full of wonders. There is a major fan club for the Orissa handicrafts which has enthralled and captivated the attention of people across the globe for more than centuries.
PATRIMONY OF ORISSA'S HANDICRAFTS HAS PERSONIFIED THE SOULThe patrimony of Orissa's handicrafts has personified the soul and the life of Orissa's culture giving the state and its people a high regard in arts and its related fields ever since its recorded history and before. The world of crafts in Orissa is wide, fascinating and full of wonders. The deft hands of Orissa's craftsmen shape and mould inanimate materials of stone, wood, metal and clothes with consummate skills and breathe life and beauty into them. One of the richest traditions of Orissa is stone carving. The craftsperson of Orissa not only today but from ancient time is noted for his proficiency and competence in stone carving. The huge collection of stone carving is best exhibited in the architecture and rock-cut sculptures of Lingraja, Jagannath, Mukteshwara and other temples of Orissa. Some of the other memorials which has been narrated in history for ever are the temple chariot of the Sun God at Konark, stupas of Ratnagiri and Udaygiri, Surasundaris heavenly beauties playing on different musical instruments at Konark temple, the Konark wheel, horse, elephant, lion,etc.
STONE CARVING IS ONE IMPORTANT FORM OF ARTOther decorative images and monograms include Krishna and Radha, Laxmi, Vishnu, Durga, Buddha and Ganesha. The stone carving is one important form of art which is still being practiced by many craftsmen and it is even their form of livelihood. This form of art has reached an amazed elevation of standard as it is practiced for centuries and the disciplined efforts made by the generations. Stone art is not only followed for images and monuments but the art is also made use to make other household products mainly made from sand stone while granite is used to make images modeled on temple figures. With modernization the present day artisans have come up with lot of decorative and other daily utility articles like ashtrays, paperweights, candle stands and book rests out of stone carvings. Kitchen utensils made of stoneware are quite commonly used by the people of Orissa. One of the most reputed stone cutting and stone carving centre is Patharasahi.
PURI SITUATED IN ORISSA IS KNOWN FOR ITS ICONS AND FIGURES
-Puri situated in Orissa is known for its icons and figures carved in different dance poses out of stone. Only a few simple tools like hammers and chisels of various shapes and sizes are enough to carve the ultra soft white soapstone, or Khadipathara, harder greenish chlorite or Kochilapathara and pinkish 'Khandolite' or Sahanapathara or Baulapathara and the hardest of all black granite or Mugunipathara. The art of stone carving followed by the artisans of Orissa is very simple where they use a very simple method of drawing the figure on the stone and bring the final shape by removing the unwanted portions whereas for the hard stone carving is usually done by cutting or shaping with a chisel. When soft stones are used it is usually carved by the process of stone scrapping. The major area in Orissa which still concentrates more on stone carving is Puri, Cuttack and few areas in Mayurbhanj district. Puri also being a town of pilgrims has lot of stores for the sales of crafts and also the neighboring towns and villages are fully occupied by the artisans who are involved in the handicraft work.
ORISSA IS ALSO KNOWN FOR ITS WOOD CARVINGS-For motifs, figures of Gods and Goddess and most popular while Konark wheel, miniatures temples, Alasakanyas or (indolent damsels), horse, elephants, Mythological figures like Gajasimhas, Gajabidalsa are also common forms that are usually carved out in stone. Apart from stone carvings Orissa is also known for its wood carvings which are unique and different form the work of other states. They differ by various other features like they are plain and shining with smooth polish and without any paint or coating of lacquer work on them. The state of Orissa also concentrates on other handicrafts like papier mache, sola pith work, lacquer work, zari work, glass beads, cloth garlands, camphor garlands, jute carpets, rush mate, and above all the, sea shell where Puri and Gopalpur specialize in it.
CREATIVITY OF THE ARTISIANS ARE VERY DOMINANTLY EXPRESSED
The skill and the creativity of the artisans are very dominantly expressed in the carvings of Orissa. The artistic excellence of the craftsmen is proved in their brass work, silver work, terracotta art objects, and applique work too. The innumerable archeological stone carving monuments of Orissa which includes the rock-cut sculptures, caves and temples are all adorned with beautiful and intricately carved statue and other embellishments are noted for centuries. The credit goes to the artisans who have for generations followed this, disciplined and mastered the art. It is very poetically explained that the artisans or the craftsmen romance with the statue and thereby the art. The descendants of the artisans who are in the field of stone carvings have not only made the sculptural traditions of their forefathers live with their skilful hands which can do wonders like chiseling and carving the precise duplicates of the original temple sculptures apart from producing various other items.
HISTORY STILL TALKS ABOUT THE MAGNIFICENT TEMPLESHistory still talks about the magnificent temples of Parsurameswar, Mukteswar, Lingaraj, Puri and that wonder in stone, the temple chariot of the Sun God at Konark, besides the beautiful Stupas and monasteries of Lalitgiri Ratnagiri and Udayagiri.The unfinished story by the stone carvings exhibits the timeless reflection of glorious tradition. These stone images give a touch of variance to modern decor that little present ornamentation can hope to surpass. Some of the very popular world renowned carvings include the earlier omnipresent "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' and 'Gajasimha'. The other specialty of the stone carvings of Orissa includes deities of Hindu God and Goddesses like Krishna and Radha, Laxmi, Vishnu, Durga, Buddha, Ganesa, 'Haraparvati', Nrusingha, etc.
THE ARTISIANS ARE INVOLVED IN MAKING IMAGES OR STATUESSometimes the artisans are also involved in making images or statues for installing in temples as presiding deities and Parswa-Devatas as well as large pieces for decoration of public places. Lot of samples of the original is seen in many palces like in the Handicrafts museum, Bhubaneswar, in the Parliament House annexe in Delhi, Konark horse in the Barabati Stadium at Cuttack. A Konark wheel which is very much similar in size and shape can be seen furnishing the entrance of a hotel at Bhubaneswar. Another landmark for the people of Bhubaneswar is a huge Konark horse which is placed at a busy intersection of the traffic island of Bhubaneswar. The art of Orissa's craftsmen can also be witnessed at the modern "Shanti Stupa" at Dhauli which has four colossal Buddha images and the friezes depicting the life of the Buddha and Asoka.
ARTISANS OF STONE CARVING MAINLY COME FROM PURI
There is also an ancient text available here which has been followed by generations and learnt to excel the art. The artisans of stone carving mainly come from Puri, Bhubaneswar, Lalitgiri in Cuttack district and Khiching in Mayurbhanj District.The craftsmen produce many items of kitchenware like polished plates, containers, cups and glasses by the simple process of turning and polishing by using a local wooden lathe called "Kunda". Such produced items are mainly used for pujas, ritual worships and also for eating. Deep containers of stoneware are used for storing curd as they do not react to acid and these are also filled with water and used for placing the legs of wooden 'Almirahs' to prevent ants from getting in. This is mainly done by those artisans who live in Baulagadia, Lulung, Bolgariah of Keonjhar district and Nilgiri.The stoneware utensils are unique in their make and shape. It is also believed that the stoneware utensils have curative medicinal effect on diabetic patients.
MANY FAMILIES ARE INVOLVED IN THIS SPECIAL FORM OF STONE ARTThere are many families who are involved in this special form of stone art who earn their livelihood by this and in fact there are number of artisans who are recognized and awarded both in the National and State level for their excellence in this field of producing craft items. A survey on the artisans involved in stone carving was estimated to be about 5620 with production status of 688.26 INR Lacs per annum. The Government of Orissa has aided the art and the artisans by having an organization named 'Craft with development potential' by the Directorate of Handicrafts & Cottage Industries, Orissa. The craftsmen use three different types of stones namely the hard granite, the semi hard stone and the soft stone. But the carvers usually likes to work only on soft stone so that they can use simple tools which are also cheap. The Sand stones also called Khondolite stone (Sahana Pathar in local dialect) are available in plenty at Tapangagarh and Ghatikia of Khurda district and Lalitgiri of Cuttack district. Soft stones (Khadi Pathar in local dialects) are found in Balasore, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj districts of Orissa.
ARTISIANS LIVE IN AREAS WHERE THERE IS ABUNDANCE OF STONEThe artisans mostly live in areas where there is abundance of stone for the fact that stones are very heavy and transport of it becomes expensive. So we can find most of them living in areas like Puri, Khurdha, Cuttack, Balasore, Keonjhar, Jajpur, Ganjam and Mayurbhanj. The making of stone carving includes the following steps where initially using a saw and a chisel the raw stone is cut according to the planned size and then the side of the stone is made even by an instrument called Randa which takes off the roughness. Then the desired pattern is drawn by using a pencil after which the artisan shapes by using a chisel. Now hammer and chisel is used to get a deeper carving of the already subjected shape. Using two other instruments called guna and tagi further refinement is done where the artisan makes his own judgment for using the right size of instrument which influences the quality. At this stage paper is used to polish the carving.
EMERY CLOTH AND WATER PAPER GIVES SHINING TO THE CARVINGSThen value adding is done and finally the artisan with the help of an emery cloth and water paper gives shining to the carvings. Lacquer a kind of wax is used to highlight the contours of the statue more prominently. Stone crafts have both regional and national markets, but the export market is very limited. The direct market is limited to only bigger enterprises. Through this channel the craft production units are able to get a margin of 5% or even less. The trading units get a margin of 15-20% where as the national dealers get a margin of 30% to 50%. The craft production units also get their products sold to the consumer in the local market through local showrooms/ traders. Here again the showroom dealers garner as much as 30% to 50% margin where as the artisans get only 5% margin. 30% of the total sell of the showrooms are directly to the consumers, where as the rest 70% goes to the domestic market at national level.
DEALERS OF ORISSA STONE CRAFT ITEMS
|1. Basudev Stones, Ph: + (91)-(674)-3200005, VIM- 267, Sailashree Vihar, C. S. Pur, Bhubaneshwar - 751 006, Odisha, India.|
|2. ODISHA INDIA CRAFT, N2, Plot No. 117, IRC Village Bhubaneswar Odisha. Ph: +91-674-2556278 (Res.)|
|3. V.R. International - India, 45, Kanishka Resorts, Pal Gaon, Jodhpur, Gujarat, India.|
|4. Priyanka Global India, 5j-81, N.i.t., Faridabad, Haryana, India .|
|5.Sikandra Stone Craft, 192, Taru Chaya Nagar, Tonk Road, Sanganer, Jaipur - 302029, Rajasthan, India. Ph: 08447557792|
|6. KNT Creations India Pvt Ltd, 1473, Sadashiv Peth, Opposite S. P. College Tilak Road, Pune - 411030, Maharashtra, India. Ph: 08447549055|
|7. Fine East Ka Vandan, 5, Darpan Villa C.H.S. Limited, Pandit Malviya Road Dombivili East, Thane - 421201, Maharashtra, India. Ph: 08588874575|
|8. Ashoka Arts & Exports, No. 2 A, Hari Das Ji Ki Magri, Trident Main Road, Udaipur - 313001, Rajasthan, India. Ph: 09953356077|