The Craft of Wood Carving
Karnataka has come to occupy pride of place in the field of wood carving. Holding a vast densely populated forest reserves, the State provides enough raw material for its craftsmen who continue to employ age-old techniques for carving, inlay-work, coating, painting and lacquer articles in wood.
Ancient temple wood architecture is the foremost specimen of wood carving, where wood has been used extensively and carved finely into delicate sculptures. The ceilings and gateways of royal homes and the temples showcases hundreds of intricately carved images of gods and goddesses. Rosewood articles are a one of the shopper's delight, and tourist take home with them articles or sculptures carved out of rosewood, beautifully carved rosewood elephant is most famous of all. The Maharaja's palace in Mysore and the mausoleum of Tipu Sultan in Srirangapattna are the foremost specimen of master craftsmanship where visitors get stun by the startling delicacy in the work.
Ivory carving is another popular craft prevailing in the entire state. Articles carved delicately without excessively ornate image adjoining the figures, mostly showcasing the figures of god and goddess. Some of Mysore's masterpieces in ivory are now preserved in the Heritage Museum in Russia and in the South Kensington Museum, London.
Shilpis the stone carvers of Karnataka are supreme of all, they had won the master crafts-man awards at the national level while others have been assigned to carve stone idols for Hindu temples abroad, especially in the USA.
Talking about sandalwood, Mysore charm the fragrance of this soft wood which is extensively used to produce beautiful art pieces. There are vast range of sandalwood product carves by the highly skilled workers, the gudigar families of Shimoga, Uttara Kannada and Mysore districts specialize in this craft. Krishna images are very popular among the devout, besides articles like lamp shades, trays, jewel boxes, decorative articles, combs and even walking sticks with rosewood handles.
Doll making is another craft famous in Karnataka evenly arranged on wooden platforms, decorated and displayed during the nine day Dusshera. Kinnal and Gokak in north Karnataka and Channapatna on the Bangalore/Mysore are famous for doll-making. The art of making puppet has galvanized many wood artisans and painters to produce a variety of puppets. Besides puppets made of wood, Karnataka also makes leather puppets which are more extensively used.
Bidar in Karnataka, is a famous for bidriware-a craft done on a metal plate of zinc, copper, tin and lead. Bidri articles ornamental jugs, bowls, plates pen holders, candle sticks and even paper knives. Nagamangala near Mysore is famous for its bronze items and Mangalore in the west coast boasts of domestic articles made of bell-metal. Metalware in Karnataka has a rich and ancient tradition, Udupi - the temple town is famous for its small images and ritual objects, while Karkala - an ancient Jain center, is well-known for its Jain icons.
Karnataka Mysore Paintings