On a bloomed
lotus, Sri Krishna stands in a variation of his characteristic Tribhanga or
triple bent posture. His thick curls are tied in a high-raising hairdo which is
adorned with jeweled strings and a Sirachakra (hair ornament on the back). A U-shaped Vaishnava tilak is engraved on
Krishna’s angelic face, which is the perfection of facial features, beautified
with arched eyebrows, large animated eyes and softly smiling lips. Several
bejeweled ornaments such as Haaram, Ratnamalika (necklaces), Udarbandha (belly
belt), Bajubanda (armlet), bracelets with jeweled chains attached to rings,
Mekhala (an elaborate waistbelt), and anklets. Tightly needled blossoms form
Sri Krishna’s legendary Vaijayanti mala or Vanamala, whose large floral pendant
swings dynamically to his right. Krishna is depicted wearing a Pitambara
(yellow cloth) as his dhoti in this woodwork, which is wrapped tightly with
fine chains around his legs that give his attire a snug and diaphanous
details are added to this wooden Krishna statue to recreate the aura of Krishna
playing the flute in the grooves of Vrindavan. The motif engraved on his Murli
is a Makara- a mythical sea creature associated with divinity, beauty, and
royalty, commonly present in Hindu idols of Sri Vishnu and his incarnations. A
thin yet clearly outlined Yajnopavita (sacred thread) runs diagonally on
Krishna’s chest, tucked under the two jeweled belts he wears. Incised lines on
the lotus flower give a natural touch to Krishna’s floral pedestal, whose visible
softness is only surpassed by the god’s foot, which lightly curves to rest on
the flower. Seamless polishing on the torso of Krishna creates a balance of
suppleness on his waist and an impression of divine strength on his shoulders.
A multitude of vegetation (symbols of life and its beginning) flows around as
Krishna plays his Murli, highlighting Krishna as the eternal source of life's
essence. A stylistically carved peacock is perched on Sri Krishna’s shoulders
as if lost in the beauty of the fluting Lord. Krishna, in Hindu literature, is
often described as a nimbus, a rain-filled cloud due to his dark skin tone.
Peacock, a bird who awaits and celebrates the arrival of monsoon and is a
symbol of love, has found its refuge in the dark-skinned epitome of love and
divinity- Sri Krishna.
How to care for Wood Statues?
Wood is extensively used in sculpting especially in countries like China, Germany, and Japan. One feature that makes the wood extremely suitable for making statues and sculptures is that it is light and can take very fine detail. It is easier for artists to work with wood than with other materials such as metal or stone. Both hardwoods, as well as softwood, are used for making sculptures. Wood is mainly used for indoor sculptures because it is not as durable as stone. Changes in weather cause wooden sculptures to split or be attacked by insects or fungus. The principal woods for making sculptures and statues are cedar, pine, walnut, oak, and mahogany. The most common technique that sculptors use to make sculptures out of wood is carving with a chisel and a mallet. Since wooden statues are prone to damage, fire, and rot, they require proper care and maintenance.
It is extremely important to preserve and protect wooden sculptures with proper care. A little carelessness and negligence can lead to their decay, resulting in losing all their beauty and strength. Therefore, a regular clean-up of the sculptures is a must to prolong their age and to maintain their shine and luster.
Wood has been a preferred material for sculptures and statues
since ancient times. It is easy to work with than most metals and
stones and therefore requires less effort to shape it into any
desired shape or form. The texture of the wood gives an element of
realism to the sculpture. The selection of an appropriate wood
type is necessary for carving. Woods that are too resinous or
coniferous are not considered good for carving as their fiber is
very soft and thus lacks strength. On the other hand, wood such as
Mahogany, Oakwood, Walnut wood, Weet cherry wood, etc., are
preferred by sculptors because their fiber is harder.
A wood sculptor uses various tools such as a pointed chisel in one
hand and a mallet in another to bring the wood to the desired
measurement and to make intricate details on it. A carving knife
is used to cut and smooth the wood. Other tools such as the gouge,
V-tool, and coping saw also serve as important tools in wood
carving. Although the wood carving technique is not as complex and
tough as stone carving or metal sculpting, nonetheless, a wood
carver requires a high level of skills and expertise to create a
The process of wood carving begins with selecting a chunk of wood
that is required according to the type and shape of the statue to
be created by the sculptor. Both hardwoods and softwoods are used
for making artistic pieces, however, hardwoods are preferred more
than softer woods because of their durability and longevity. But
if heavy detailing is to be done on the statue, wood with fine
grain would be needed as it would be difficult to work with
Once the wood type is selected, the wood carver begins the
general shaping process using gouges of various sizes. A gouge
is a tool having a curved cutting edge which is useful in
removing large unwanted portions of wood easily without
splitting the wood. The sculptor always carves the wood across
the grain of the wood and not against it.
When a refined shape of the statue is obtained, it is time for
making details on the statue using different tools. This is
achieved by using tools such as a veiner to make and a V-tool to
create decorative and sharp cuts.
Once finer details have been added, the sculptor is ready to
smoothen the surface and give it a perfect finish. Tools such as
rasps and rifflers are used to get a smooth surface. The finer
polishing is obtained by rubbing the surface with sandpaper. If
a textured surface is required, this step is skipped. Finally,
to protect the statue from excessive dirt accumulation, the
sculptor applies natural oils such as walnut or linseed oil all
over it. This also brings a natural sheen to the statue.
Wood statues are lighter in weight and less expensive than metal
or stone pieces. Because wood is prone to fast decay by fungus and
algae, statues made out of this material are not preferred to be
kept outside. The rich tradition of wood carving in countries such
as Africa, Egypt, India, and Nepal has been followed for many
centuries. Indian craftsmen are specialized in this classic art
and continue to exhibit their extraordinary artistic skills.
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