History of Stone Crafts of Rajasthan
Stone Crafts of Rajasthan can be dated back to the prehistoric times when the ruling of Rajputs was foremost in the region. The rise of the Rajput Empire gave the art of stone carving a new establishment. The forts of Jaisalmer, Jalore, Ajmer and Ranthambore were built during this time. These forts not only had gigantic stone walls but also had beautiful temples which were built within these forts. The artists were professional in their skills and made beautiful shrines. During that time, South Indian artists were invited to Rajasthan to present the perfect design. The temple of Ranakpur symbolizes the beautiful stone carvings of Rajasthan.
According to the history of Rajasthan, the availability of high-quality stone had facilitated the craftsmen to create superb structures or buildings with excellent stone carving since the medieval times. The stone carving was not only limited to the forts and palaces but can also be seen in the domes. Even after the mughal attack, the art of stone carving received a new look. The Rajputs employed Muslim workers who mixed the Rajputs and Muslim approaches of art and architecture to provide a new aspect to the stone carving.
Process of Stone Crafts of Rajasthan
The stone craft of Rajasthan involves usage of various stones like granites, marbles, quartzite, slates and other metamorphic rocks. The sculptures of the ancient and medieval temples of Bharatpur, Baroli, Ramgarh, Nagda, Ajmer, Chittorgarh, Mandore, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Udaipur are ideal of the dexterity of the Rajasthani craft persons. The stone craft of Rajasthan has a distinct quality to exhibit in the 'jali' (latticework) carvings. The ancient regal buildings of Rajasthan flaunt the 'jali' work on the doors and windows. Even the 'jali' screens which were sculpted from sandstone and marble were frequently used in the windows of the 'zenanas' (women's quarters) to enable the women to view events from the other side of the 'purdah'. Some centres where some superb instances of intricate 'jali' work are found include Ajmer, Udaipur, Jodhpur and Bikaner. The Patwa havelis were built earlier and highlighted on outside decoration and microscopic carvings on Jaisalmer stone while the Rampuria havelis were built of dulmera stone.
The artisans of Rajasthan are skilful in creating stone articles that include the figurines of the religious deities as well as some utensils such as bowls for grinding spices and kneading dough and other works of stone craft like staircases, furniture, tableware etc.
The craftsman of Rajasthan is famous for making the beautiful marble icons of gods and goddesses for worship. Jaipur is known for outstanding statues of gods, goddesses, animal and human figures as well in white marble. A wide variety of stones that involve the soft, pink sandstone, Tamara stone and the soft Chlorite of Dungrapur are used for making icons, utility items, figures etc. Some of the well curved images including the image of Goddess Kali, the consort of Lord Shiva, are preserved in museums as they deserve to be appreciated by the whole world. Apart from religious icons, the stone craft of Rajasthan is popular all over the world for other works such as statuettes, miniature stone carvings and other artefacts.
Stone Jewellery of Stone Crafts of Rajasthan
The ruby stone jewellery is unique of Rajasthan. Other beautiful stones that are carved into jewellery include Amethyst, Emerald, Topaz, Agate, Lapis Lazuli, etc. From anklets to bracelets, necklaces and earrings almost every type of jewellery are made from the stones. These stones are accessible in different colours and are given to different shapes. These stones are shaped into different metals. The garnet work of Jaipur is pretty famous. These jewellery pieces are surrounded in materials with accuracy. There are also a variety of pendants and earrings which are carved from different types of semi-precious stones.
Among the major stone producing centres, Kota, Barmer and Ajmer of east Rajasthan can be named for their productivity of grey stone, yellow marble and granites respectively. The stone craft of Rajasthan has been appreciated and of huge demand not only in the Indian market but it has been flourishing its business in the international market as well.
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