Sculpture comes from Latin word “Sculpere”- meaning to carve. It refers to the creation of three-dimensional figures forms designs from a single block mass of materials. Sculptures are one of the oldest of arts. It is an artwork created by shaping or combining hard materials, typically stone such as marble, metal, glass or wood, or plastic materials such as clay, textiles, polymers and softer metals.
There are two types of sculptures, which is Subtractive process and additive process. Subtractive sculpture is the oldest form of sculpture and involves removing material like woodcarving or stone sculpture to create a finished work. Subtractive sculpture is by far the most technically difficult and due to the nature of the medium is the most restrictive in expression. Additive sculpture is the process of creating sculpture by adding material to create the work. Additive sculpture describes all other forms of sculpture and the process most commonly used today.
Sculptures are created in four basic ways, which are carving, modelling, casting and construction. Carving method (Subtractive process) material is removed example on marble, wood, stone etc. Modelling method (Additive process) material is added example clay, wax, plaster, and papier-Mache. Casting method is made when a mould is used to form a material into desired shape example: Lost wax method. Construction method: wielding, gluing, nailing materials together.
The first known sculpture in the Indian subcontinent is from the Indus Valley civilization, found in sites at Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in modern-day Pakistan. These include the famous small bronze female dancer named as ‘The Dancing Girl’. However, such figures in bronze and stone are rare and greatly outnumbered by pottery figurines and stone seals, often of animals or deities very finely depicted. After the collapse of the Indus Valley civilization, there is little record of sculpture until the Buddhist era, apart from a hoard of copper figures of c. 1500 BCE from Daimabad. Thus, the great tradition of Indian monumental sculpture in stone appears to begin relatively late, with the reign of Asoka, and the Pillars of Asoka he erected around India, carrying his edicts and topped by famous sculptures of animals, mostly lions, of which six survive. Large amounts of figurative sculpture, mostly in relief, survive from Early Buddhist pilgrimage stupas, above all Sanchi; these developed out of a tradition using wood that also embraced Hinduism.
The arts and crafts of Tamilnadu has developed from the ancient times and is still practiced in many places of Tamilnadu. The beautiful carvings in our temple stands as an example explaining the skill of our artisans. Tamil Nadu is known as the land of temples, which are considered architectural masterpieces over the ages. Different dynasties over the centuries like the Cholas, Pandyas, Pallavas, Nayaks and others, constructed thousands of temples, which are the standing testimony to the rich Dravidian culture and art. They were great patrons of art and architecture and each temple thus exhibited distinctive styles of each empire. Some mythological story was attached to each temple and their gopurams, gateways, pillars and arches depicted the excellence and glory of a bygone era. The temples were important places for social gatherings, imparting education and celebrations. The Pallavas built the oldest temples dating back to 700 AD. The temples were constructed out of stone and were replicated out of caves. The Chola Empire included mandapams or decorative halls with huge gopurams or towers in their temples. The Pandyas later increased the artistic value of the temples by adding gateway arches, high wall enclosures and huge towers. The Vijayanagara rulers who had a distinct style of architecture comprising intricately carved monolithic pillars followed this. The Nayaks developed a splendid style of architecture by adding circulatory paths or prakarams. The intricate carving of the sculptures bears testimony to the creativity and artisanship of the sculptors and artisans. Some of the most famous temples are Meenakshi Temple at Madurai, Ranganathaswamy Temple Srirangam, Brihadeeshwara Temple at Thanjavur, Kailasanath Temple in Kancheepuram, Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameshwaram and many other temples.
Chennai may be the capital of Tamil Nadu, but Madurai claims its soul. Madurai is one of the oldest cities in India, a metropolis that traded with ancient Rome and was a great capital long before Chennai was even dreamed of. Madurai is one of the ancient cities of South India with a glorious history. It is famous for its world acclaimed Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple. The city of Madurai has been constructed in the form of a lotus and is built around the temple. It is situated on the banks of the river Vaigai. Owing to its rich cultural heritage and architectural splendour, the city is often referred to as the “Athens of the East”. The origin of Madurai dates back to the Sangam period, the golden period of Tamil Literature.
Madurai has become a big commercial centre in the south. It is famous for its textile industry, which is growing in stature with time. The city contributes immensely to the textile wealth of the county. The textile industry still uses its ancient techniques of weaving. The textile from the region is exported to all over the world. There is a vast variety offered by Madurai in both the textile material as well as the weaving techniques. There are a number of other small industries that contribute to the arts and crafts of the city apart from textiles.
Cement Sculpting is the process of making sculptures using cement as the base material. Cement is an important ingredient in a finished product called concrete. Concrete is a mixture of cement; a binder such as stone, sand or gravel and water. Mixture of all these ingredients sets a chemical process called hydration into motion. When first mixed, concrete has a heavy paste-like consistency, but thanks to hydration, it gradually becomes extremely hard, even though it should be kept damp as it hardens. When it is finished, it is impervious to water. Cast concrete is sometimes also called “cast stone”.
Concrete is versatile and one should be skilled to know how to work with it. It is also easy to experiment with because the raw materials are available at any hardware or building supply store. When it is in a semi-liquid form or uncured, concrete is heavy and viscous, not easy material to handle. At this point, depending on how one want to use it, they can add substances to it that will slow the drying rate or speed it up, or make the wet concrete flow more freely. It all depends on how one want to use it to make art. It can be cast into a mold, a hollow form made of plaster, aluminum or latex into which uncured concrete is poured. The inner surface of the mold is coated with a substance like shellac to ensure that the concrete does not stick to it. The concrete cures until it has hardened and then it is removed from the mold.
Another, more complicated method is to use armature, or skeletal form, t o support the concrete. Here, the armature is made first, using materials like wire, wood, metal or bricks. Then the basic form is filled out using a lightweight substance like styrene, and surrounded with another outer shell of metal wire. It is only at this point that the concrete is parged, or continuously poured and pushed into place by hand to cover the underlying form. A finished work can sometimes require layers of concrete and wire support.