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Wood Carvings in India…

Thursday, May 14th, 2009 | Author:

One of the most traditional forms of Indian art is wood carving. Carving is referred to shaping wood to create multifarious and intricate designs with precision to the minutest detail.


In India, we have come across the most luxurious and complex wood carving. The ancient temple doors, walls, ceilings and beams are a testimony of the fineness in wood carving and the artistic excellence in India. The temple of goddess Kamakhya is an example of this.


In Orissa, wooden carved toys, idols of deities, and wooden doors and panels are renowned for their carvings. In Uttar Pradesh, Saharanpur is the hub of wood carving. The wooden screens, tables, trays, bowls, stands, jewellery and boxes are convolutedly enhanced with traditional geometric, basil, fretted pattern and the illustrious leaf patterns. Besides, Rajasthan is also distinguished for its engraved sandalwood, rosewood and heavy ornamental furniture.


Wood used for carving is categorized into soft and hard wood. Hardwood is usually acquired from trees like teak, oak, walnut, sandalwood, etc. whereas softwood is obtained from pine, fir and cedar trees. For finest results, carvers use softwood for their artistry.

Carving knives, chisels, scrapers, rasps and files, rotary tools and parting tools are the basic tools used for wood carving.


After carving the wood it is important to varnish it. Varnishing on wood makes the products colourful and sparkling, and also smoothens out the curves. This grants a lustrous finesse to the work of art. In India ornamental lacquering is well known. It includes complicated patterns like crisscross and Dana work, atishi, cloud and nakkashi. Varanasi is known for lacquered toys and miniature kitchen utensils for children to play with.


Wood carving is one of the most momentous arts in India. It is the emblem that unites art, architecture, culture and religion.