The modern scenario in Odisha has not changed much as far as Stone Carving is concerned. These artisans are as deft and skilled as their forefathers.The only difference is that instead of carving temples they now do decorative and utilitarian pieces in stone.
Regional Stone Crafts of Odisha
Stone carving is practiced in different parts of Odisha. Each region has a distinct form of carving and the style differs from one another. For instance, the artisans of Pathuriasahi are adept at creating superb stone carving that are mainly found in the temple architectures and figurines. They prefer to use soapstone for providing form to their creations. The artisans of Balasore and its surrounding villages are dexterous in creating utilitarian utensils out of semi hard stone encompassing pots, glass, ashtrays, plates, dolls etc. Even different types of containers made up of kochila stone, sandstone, nilgiri stone, soap stone, kendumundi stone, serpentine stone and soft stone are available in the local markets of Odisha. The artisans of Mangalpur near Balasore create different articles including utensils from the semi-grey stone of Khichinga. A variety of figurines and some utilitarian items like ash-trays, vases and bowls. The stone works of Odisha produced in Bhuvaneswar, Puri, Lalitagiri and Khichinga are considered to be in huge demand and have a perfect blend of artistry and socio cultural aspects.
Tools and Stones used in the Stone Craft
Simple tools like hammers and chisel are mainly used to draw carve an outline and then work on it. Marble, soapstone and black granite are generally used. The various stones used for sculpture making include white soapstone called Khadipathara, which is very soft as well as the hardest black granite called Mugunipathara. They also use greenish chlorite or Kochilapathara, and pinkish Khandolite.
Repertoire of Stone Crafts of Odisha
The wonderful carvings in the temples testify the creative exuberance of the artisans of Odisha. The huge repertoire of stone carving is best revealed in the architecture and rock-cut sculptures of Lingaraja Temple, Jagannath Temple, Mukteshwara Temple, Gopunath Temple and other temples of Odisha. Other noteworthy monuments include 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 and lion. Puri has been noted for outstanding stone work that dates back to the Kalinga School.The carved products include replicas of temples, images of gods and goddesses and decorative figurines like "Alasa Kanya" (the indolent damsel) "Salabhanjika" (lady leaning against a sal branch), "Lekhika" (lady writing a letter) etc. which are popular items of household decoration.
Sudarshan Sahoo - Eminent Stone Sculptor of Odisha
Sudarshan Sahoo, the master sculptor was born in the divine city of Puri in 1939. He received national award for stone carving in 1981. His next big achievement came in the form of Padmashree, awarded to him by the President of India in 1988. Shri Sahoo developed Sudarshan Crafts Museum in 1977; he almost became a father figure in the development of traditional sculptures.
Stone carving is an age-old craft of Odisha. The stone crafts of Odisha have long been praised because of the style it carries and the authenticity of the craftsmanship it have been bearing since the dawn of artistic evolution.
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