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About Stone Statue Sculpture In Nepal

Nepal is a good destination for stone statues. Stone Statues are found everywhere beneath the water taps, around temples and stupas and all along the ancient and modern streets. Stone statues can be of lions and griffins, detailed and obscure gods that date back centuries and those that have been set there recently by faithful seeking a connection with the immortal. The history of Stone Statue is very old in Nepal. There was time when stone art was waning. Particularly after the fall of the Mallas, there was no real demand for stone statues, but now stone carvers are busy again. Many stone carvers are seen creating their art work that rival the finery of their ancestors' creations and it is the Nepalese people themselves who have fueled this growth. The oldest stone image found in Nepal and housed in the National Museum, Swayambhu, is that of the Yaksha Bodhisattva from to the first century AD. Highly skilled and capable artisans in Nepal today continue to use techniques and tools unchanged over the centuries. Problems with stone quarries and lack of interest among the Nepalese rulers due to the heavy and hard-to-move nature of stone had at one time almost wiped out this art practice. At this time stone workers enjoy increased interest among Nepalese buyers and the renovation and reconstruction of temples, stupas and other heritage sites. How the artist shapes the stone as well as the life that the work requires are reported.

Stone statue sculpture is seen everywhere in the Kathmandu Valley, along trekking trails, and by the riversides. Granite, sandstone, and even marble are used. Carvers in the Valley bring in stone from Dakshinkali or Gadavari quarries. Artisans use primitive tools. The set square and the primitive compass are considered "modern." Some of the carvers are beginning to use the drill.

It is up to the artist to envision what he or she wants to create. References can be made to history or the imagination. A rough sketch is made on stone. It is entirely the "feel" of the artisan that determines the quality of the product. Lines are drawn by the chisel. Experience teaches the artist how to work. The only way they learn is through apprenticeship. Experience ranging over generations helps many. The art of stonework is passed from grandfather to father and father to his son. The clans are tightly knitted.

Even young as eighteen year boy are skilled in the art of stone shaping. Further details have been worked out. Granite is the preferred stone; marble is worked upon only on special request. Details are now to be filled in. High quality sandstone is used for work that requires great detail and they need to be saved from the elements. The image is ready for the showroom. It is the Nepalese people themselves who have fueled the growth of this form of art.

Stone carvers use to work with traditional themes and images in Nepal. Deities, serpents, yogis, oxen, lions, Stupas, and the Buddha are some of the images that they work on for their clients. They make the statues of Hindu deities also; Laxmi, Shiva, Parvati, Krishna, Ganesh, Kumar, Saraswati, Vishnu, etc. Tamangs, Newars even the Brahmins and Chettris work as carvers in Patan.

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