Stone Carving

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             Stone Carving - Rajasthan


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                                                                                  Stone Carving
Introduction of Stone Carving

Rajasthan is not only prominent for the courageous deeds and heroic sacrifices of its fighters but Rajasthan is also famous for its wonderful architectural monuments made of stone. Forts, palaces and Temples are wonderful success of the craftsmen that have few competitors. The rulers’ support and keen interest in the growth of architecture led to many improvements in the style.

Rajasthan, rich in diverse types of hard rocks like slates, quartzite, granites, marbles and other metamorphic rocks, has been a heaven for stone-carver’s. Arts and crafts of Rajasthan are commanded by the availability of indigenous raw materials in the region. Marbles and sandstones are available in large quantities in the dry lands of the state. Stone art and masonry are vital art forms that cultivate noise in the state.

The forts and palaces and beautiful havelis of Rajasthan are all great examples of the wonderful mason work of the state. The fine stone-carving or fragile jali work in stone of this area is very typical. Jaipur, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Thanagazi, Kishori Makrana, and Dungarpur are the main centres. Well decorated domestic wares in stone is wonderfully planned with lot of attention to the art and its style.

An extraordinary characteristic is the statue of the Sun God, which is not found in other parts of Rajasthan. In the heart of the desert from Dholpur near Bharatpur to Barmer, the shape of the stone mason is put to incredible use as he commands everything from pink and red sandstone to marble.

Jaipur-The Heart of Marble Carving

Jaipur is the heart of marble carving in Rajasthan. Here artisans construct marble images of the deities as well as domestic utensils such as bowls for grinding spices and kneading dough. Centres like Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner and Ajmer, are very excellent examples of 'jali' or lattice, worked on screens and panels in the palaces of these cities.

Today, the stone carvers have to do with idol making and statues. The center of this industry lies in the southwest quarter of Jaipur. White Makrana marble is carted here in roughly-shaped blocks. A row of holes is drilled and iron wedges striked into it till the block breaks down along its line of weakness.

To craft the figure, a perpendicular line is drawn along the axis and the sculptor keeps shaping the outline as he goes along. It's all done very carefully as even a small crack make the idol useless for worship. Apart from gods and goddesses, these men who convert stone into poetry, also fashion animals, human figures and plain geometric forms.

Architectural History

The rise of Rajputs indicates a new era in architectural history. Strategic considerations of the time forced the states to strengthen their areas strongly. The forts of Kumbhalgarh, Jalore, Jaisalmer, Amer, Ranthambore etc. jump up. They not only had big four walls of stone and lime but were equipped with attractive temples and palaces of artistic taste provided by the builders. Temple builders do extremely well in the stone art by building religious temples at Pushkar, Ajmer, Kota. Barmer, Delwara Ranakpur, and Jodhpur.

South Indian artists were specially invited and given all services and support to translate the dream of the rulers and their people into stone structures. The dream temple of Ranakpur planned by an artist Shoba Dev signify the wonderful age of stone carving craft in Rajasthan. Another centre of artistic attainment was at Dilwara. Builders of the temples were influenced by South Indian and Gujarat structure.

Stone carving skill was not restricted to temples and forts but also helped in planning the domes and artistic nauchakis located at 51km from Udaipur. The artificial lake of Jaisamand speaks of the thoughts and talent of the builders. Nauchakis at Rajsmand and Anna Sagar at Ajmer represent Rajput structural design and style. The building of a variety of mosques and tombs did not affect the secular character of Rajasthan architecture. Rajput rulers also support and encouraged the Muslim masons. The Dargah of Khwaja Sahib at Ajmer constructed in the 15th century is one of the first tombs of architectural skill. The minarets and mosques of Jaipur, Jodhpur, Bikaner, Kota and Merta are illustration where stone carvings attain its glory.

Marble and Sandstone

The marble and sandstone used in city palace, Tripolia gate, Jantar Mantar (Observatory), and temples of Govind Dev Ji, Raj Rajeshwar, Madhobehari and Radha Vinod and its structural designs has placed the city on the world tourist map. Jodhpur is another city which has red stone buildings and palaces like Ummed Bhawan and Chittar palace. Jaisalmer city is prominent for its red stone Havelis with skilled carvings and craftsmanship. It is also named as ‘Rose in the Desert’ city for its red buildings. Bikaner is well-known for its Jali work on the stone slabs.

White marble stone which is well-known all over the country was used to construct Taj Mahal at Agra. Also many other buildings were made from this stone which had shining and everlasting polish. Sawai Madhopur possesses acquit green spotted and copper colored Tamra stone in abundance. It is generally used for making images. Soft Chloromatic stone of Dungarpur is used in icon making. The feature of this stone is that it turns black on oiling. The soft stone of Bhilwara is used as a alternate of alabaster.

Jaipur is the main centre for production of marble items. Traditional images of deities, dinner sets, chaklas and belans, punch bowls with glasses and table ware are some of the articles which are gracefully carved. The craftsman shaped these items with perfection and skill. The carving of sun god in the black stone is the specialty of Dungarpur area.

Garnet Work

The garnet work that was shaped at Jaipur is famous all over the world. Rock-crystal is cut into beads, necklaces and dagger handles etc. by the craftsmen at Jaipur also. Cups, saucers, trays, paper-weights and animal figures are prepared at Jaisalmer with yellow lime-stone, blended with a substance which looks like red ochre and other similar stones.

Rajasthan inherits a rich heritage in the stone carving art and the present day craftsmen have given it a new touch and shape to make these articles more beautiful, attractive, and valuable handicrafts. The small items prepared from stone in Rajasthan are very popularly being used also as reminders by the purchasers.

Jali / Stone - Tracery

Another decorative art,is the Jali or stone- tracery, implemented both in red sand stone and in the crystalline white marble of Rajputana. The Jali is a fine ornamental art of marble or sand stone fret into an almost endless net-work of geometrical arrangements. The necessities of the climate of Northern India for some material which should, like glass afford security from the weather and at the same time admit free airing have been satisfied by the elaboration of this incomparable window tracery.

Jaipur, Udaipur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Jodhpur and Jaisalmer are the main centers of marble and sand-stone carvings.In Bharatpur and Dholpur only sand stone is used by the masons.

Circular Pieces

The circular pieces are used for making plates, astrays,thals,and bowls etc. The bottom surface of these discs are scraped and heated over a wood fire and grains of seed-lac are placed at the heated spot. A rope is injured round a machine tool with knot at the end and is pull to rotate it, generally done by women. When the article has reached the desired size and shape, it is polished with a shaping tool to get it ready for designing. Quite a few designs are fixed on the objects. The Tana Buta pattern comprises of irregular curves of zig zag lines positioned at systematical distances from each other; while Jata Bhista comprises of straight lines meeting to a centre and slanting lines placed at symmetrical distance from each other, so that in the total effect the inclining lines appear like a while the converging straight lines form a kind of a star. Ank (Aankh) is another attractive design made of concentric circles to resemble the eye, and though simple is used as decorative patterns.”

                         Dulmera Stone Carving                        Stone Carving of Rajasthan
                              Jaisalmer Patwa Haveli                           Yellow Stone Carved Flower Pot
                   Carved Stone Window of Hawa Mahal                                 Rajasthan Stone Carving

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