Where the Stones Begin to Speak

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-Dr Ujwala Chakradeo

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This verse explains how to divide the stone into nine parts, how to determine the shape of the sculpture, what should be the proportion of the face concerning the body and where and how to begin. Many scriptures and treaties are dealing with shilp and sculpture carving. The details are innumerable and intricate.
In the evolution of temple structures, it has been observed that built forms and structures were quite simple in the Gupta Period. During the 4th to 5th century, AD rock carving techniques were developed, and cave temples were built. Later through this art, whole mountains and caves were carved out of stone. The Kailash Temple of Ellora is an unprecedented stone carved temple from top to bottom built in the 8th century.
Temples of Konark, Khajuraho and others are famous for their carvings and sculptures. The temples of Mount Abu, however, are entirely carved only from the inside. The proportions and the beauty of these sculptures are beyond words. These have to be carefully observed and experienced. They take us to a different level of involvement. The art and skill of the sculptors are reflected through these statues. It is amazing to note that these sculptors were able to make these figures smile, laugh, cry and be angry. To make stone emit exact emotion is a daunting task.
Who gave these artists the power to create meaning in the sculpture? Where did they learn this art? Millions of salutations to the sculptors and artists who created sculptures of temples. They have designed not just the Darshan of the society of that time but the entire Bhav Darshan.
(The columnist is Principal of SMM College of Architecture, Nagpur and specialises in Bharatiya Architectural Heritage)