Stone Icon Carving of Karnataka

Stone Icon Carving of Karnataka


In Karnataka, a Hoysala stone sculptor draws his creative technique from the wisdom of centuries. He is taught to identify stones on the basis of the sound they emit when beaten, and the different uses are also made clear to him: 'male stones' are used for sculpting gods, 'female stones' for goddesses, and 'neutral stones' for objects. Rules pertaining to proportions, postures, and ornamentation laid down by the Dhyanashlokas are meant to be followed. After the raw stone is selected and sized, a sketch of the proposed image is drawn on to it. This is realised roughly with the help of steel rods and mallets. The sculpture is brought to its final form with chisels of varied sizes and its roughness is polished away with files of increasing sharpness. The final image is then smoothened with sandpaper and rubbed with coconut oil.

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