Indian history is the most prevalent with its principles of art and craft and mainly concentrating towards stone carving. The history of India created when man first appeared on the globe. Since then, the people along with numerous countries on earth existed progressing without interruption in handicraft, physical sciences practical to manual activities, art work on Marble, Sandstone, Lime stone and Soap stone community’s improvement and religious involvement. At first stones were haphazardly picked up many determinations, Man initiated producing tools for himself from when he began his career on this earth. When mankind first spread against a stone or hit his head against the sagging branch of a forest tree, instead of wasting his impotent time, he started making use of the stones and turned the experience to throw that stone as a missile at an enemy or broke the branches to use it as a weapon, he then began his human living on earth.
The earliest tools must have been made by cracking or hammering a piece of stones with another stone to improve its shape and extend it for use. These first tools were made by splitting; pebbles were sensibly selected from single-beds and, by a skilful blow or two with another stone, the required sharp edges were produced. Carving on stone and engraving on bones were practiced in an artistic sense of man to reach its highest point. The cave carving were made by man for his shelter. Drawings and paintings of human, animals, notable carvings in horn and engravings on stone made by artists have been discovered by the researchers. The period of Stone sculptors also observed by the construction of countless stone temples, many of which attained considerable size. As vast quantities of sculpture were required to decorate their lavish exteriors and simpler interiors, much of the work is little more than sharp executed architectural ornament. Carving is a difficult process, requiring skill, attentiveness and extreme carefulness. It is a process in which forms are cut away or deducted from the original solid material.
It was originally built in the Maurya period, and a massive column with a lion capital of that era stands nearby. Significant enlargements were made in the second century B.C., the period of the plain stone barrier as well. Alexander Cunningham, later the first director-general of the Archaeological Survey of India, excavated the ruins of Sarnath from 1834-36, and made the notable find of a large hoard of stone sculpture in a room to the northwest of the Dhamekh stupa. Range of sculptors were found and all the goddesses stand on lotus flowers with petals drooping over the edge of the stone. They also have the same lotus crowns ringed with beads. Sandstone sheets with geometric and floral design were complete to decorate palaces and tombs during the original period. The Mughals in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries built some of the most beautiful structures in the world like the Taj Mahal in Agra. The sculptural decorations are of many diversities of marble mesh are made out of a single slab of stone that is cut to produce a framework window that allows for light and ventilation. To make stone marble or sandstone panels the artist has to slice out the design in the form of partitions on the flat stone slab. Then precious and semi-precious stones are cut into exact pieces of the pattern and laid into the partitions. The stone work in the Taj Mahal is so extraordinary that over twenty pieces of different coloured stones were used to create a single flower.
Carving is a subtractive process in which the material being carved is chipped, gouged, or hammered away from an inert, raw block of material. Stone is the most common carving materials and this material present problems for the artist to solve. Sculptors who work in stone must take into account the different features of each type of stone. Sandstone is realistic and coarse, marble soft and crystalline, granite dense and hard. Each must be dealt with different pressure and strength.
Karnataka sculptors carve images, panels of gods and goddesses, ornaments, bowls, vases, and book-ends from a variety of stones available in this State.
In Madhya Pradesh the soft marble rocks of Bhedaghat on the banks of the Narmada provide craftsmen with excellent raw material to make carved panels, figurines and boxes.
Uttar Pradesh is one of the leading producers and exporters of stoneware in India. Soft marble and soft streaked Gorahari stone of many shades are inlaid with semiprecious stones. Inlaid table tops, plates and decorative items are produced in Agra.
Tamil Nadu is famous for stone sculpture and they have been established in many places such as Mahabalipuram, where a training school has trained a number of young artists in traditional stone-carving techniques and in making statues.
In Orissa the stone cutters of Puri work mainly on soapstone. Harder stone is used for temple building. Traditional stone carvers in Mangalpur make stone utensils from semi-hard grey stone and add to it a beautiful polish. Grey stones from Khichling are made into items for the urban market such as boxes, containers, bowls and vases.
The team interviewed Mr. Raghunath Mohapatra who is a Padmabhushan (The fourth highest civilian award of Republic India) and one of the National awardees in the year 1974 & 1968. He was born in a small village named Badrinathpur and gradually moved to Bhubaneshwar. His family built temples across Odisha and now, he is looking forward to rebuild the Konark temple on a land provided by government. According to him, his forefathers contributed their effort to few of the popular temples like Konark and Jagarnath in Odisha. He is been practicing stone art since when he was 6 years old. He was taken back to hometown by his grandfather when he injured one of his finger, being between the artists, he was trained on stone sculpture. When he turned 17 years old, a government organization identified him as an expert craftsmen, offered him a job after which he was exposed to the industry in a vast manner. Gaining experience with talent, he was very soon recognized as Master craftsmen. In the year 1960, he moved to Puri and trained other staff. He also sculpted some of the major sculptors like, 24 feet horse for temple Konark, sculpture for New Delhi parliament and the Samadhi of Rajiv Gandhi (Ex-prime minister of India).