The Village Shivarapatna is very well known for its intricate carvings on black and grey granite to make idols for temples. The Shivarapatna craft is popular all over India and abroad. There are myths that “During the period of Ganga Dynasty a ‘shilpi’ (Craftsperson) named Basulinga Acharya was traveling from a place which were near Karnataka and Tamil Nadu border in then India to some other place and he spent a night in a Dharmashala in the village Shivarapatna. After cooking the food in the night, he took some pieces of charcoal and drawn an idol on the wall, which was very beautiful. Next morning few villagers saw the line drawing and got surprised by the skill of him. This news spread like wild fire in the village and the king got to know about this. He came to the village to meet him and asked him to stay in the village and practice the craft and offered him land in the village to stay. There onwards the craft flourished in the village.
The Ganga dynasty that ruled Karnataka started traditional sculptures that have been continuing for two thousand years. Basavalingachari from the Jakanacharya hereditary started the Vishwakarma community structures. They came in groups and they settled in the village to construct temples. The Vishwakarma structures has been given the name Shilparamam and the village making these stone structure came to be known as the Heritage Village, by the government recently. Below outlined an account of the family which has been routinely engaged in stone craft. A case study method was followed for covering the practice of stone craft by an average craftsman’s family.
Family Members : 4-6
Work force : Outsourced Labour locally (3-6 Nos.)
Hours of work per day : 8-10 hours
Master had taught the craft of Shilpkala to the whole village. The disciples became the new masters of their families. The family passes on their traditional knowledge of craft to the next generation. Children study in school to the age of 15 after which they work under their family elders for gaining skills in stone craft.
• Source of Raw Material:
The Stone is procured from the quarry named ‘Krishna Salai. The rocks are transported to the ‘Mahalakshmi ’ industrial area (5 kms ) and are cut according to pre decided dimensions. The master himself chooses the rocks according to the sculpture ordered by the client.
Stone– Sandstone, soft stone, Granite and marble, Brass, Silver, Gold and Panch Loha (Bronze, Gun metal, Gold, silver, Copper), Fibre (Acrylic and Fibre reinforced plastic).
Donors of temples belonging to the following states, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Ladies are not allowed to work on the idols as they are deities. The task is divided among the artisans according to the process (Cutting, Drawing, rough finishing, final finishing).
Duration of Sculpting:
2 weeks – 2 months and also up to 9 months in some cases (Subjected to scale, amount of detailing).
Tradition, culture and values represent Shivarapatna which is synonymous with the word sculpture and currently with about 700 members of 300 families are engaged in stone craft. The sculptors of Shivarapatna in Karnataka keep alive the 1,000-year-old artistic tradition. Shivarapatna is a unique village in the country which has been made into a traditional sculpture centre. Shivarapatna is- also renowned for its metal casting (Pancha Loha, an alloy of copper, zinc, lead, silver, and gold). Deities and warriors of Chalukyan Period are the main source of inspiration for Shivarapatna sculptures. It is believed that the Shilpi’s, sculptors, of Shivarapatna are descendants of the craftsmen who constructed the temples of Belur, Hampi and Hoskote.