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Tracing Origins of India – Idols and Figurines

As one traverses through the history of civilizations, the times and lives of people can be understood from the works they have left behind.  Be it the structures or the vast knowledge of literature, one can see a continuity and adaption of various art & craft forms. It is but obvious that India, being one of the oldest civilizations, there are a rich tradition and works of art that can be traced back to many millennia. Metal arts – be it sculptures, or other artefacts used as home accents - India has a rich heritage which goes all the way back to the Indus-Sarasvati times. India is regarded to be the pioneer in the use of bronze and the idols & figurines that have been unearthed from the Indus-Sarasvati areas are an absolute treasure trove.
The Indian culture is known for symbolism and the creativity & workmanship of various idols & sculptures of the highest order. Be it for religious purposes or adorning one's homes or offices, there is a wide range of idols, figurines and other artefacts with different styles to choose from. While the use of bronze originated in north-west India, the glorious tradition of idol making has been sustained and taken to new levels in the southern parts of the Country, especially during the reign of Cholas. Not only are there various ways to make these idols and figurines but there are certain procedures that are followed to bring in sanctity in these works of art which
has been enumerated in the “Shilpa Shastra”.
Usually bronze, brass and Panchaloha (
Pancaloha), apart from the non-ferrous metals used in the famous Dhokra castings are used for making various artefacts. The lost-wax technique – which has now been adapted for commercial purposes and called investment technique –it is a traditional and age-old method of making quality products.

Bronze

Bronze Urli
As mentioned above the Bronze Age began in India over 5,000 years back during the Indus-Sarasvati times and there has been an evolution of this art-form since. Right from the now famous dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro dating back to the 4th millennia BCE to the time of Cholas in the south when bronze sculpture making reached its pinnacle, this art-form has continued to volve and grow. Bronze is used in making idols, figurines and other artefacts with a few centres in the country excelling in this art-form. This alloy is considered to be ideal for making sculptures as it is harder and long lasting; further, it has a unique capability of expanding slightly while setting the mould and hence the finer details are captured vividly and during the cooling process it contracts a bit, thereby making it easier to take the mould off. Bronze is an alloy and is typically a combination of copper and tin but other materials like aluminium, manganese and silver are also used to be combined with copper. While bronze is expensive, but the connoisseurs prefer this dull colour finish as it lends that touch of elegance. Artifacts made from bronze can be identified by the faint rings around them. #Buy Bronze Urli Online

Brass

Brass Idols Oline
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc which has lustrous and fine quality finish to it. The shining golden colour makes it a popular choice for in making idols and figurines. There are centres in Moradabad, Aligarh and Bangalore that have specialised in producing fine artefacts. The idols of deities look divine and add a touch of piousness. While not as expensive as bronze, idols and figurines made from brass have their own appeal and have helped in reaching out to a wider audience. #Buy Brass Idols Online

Dhokra

Buy Dhokra Online
Dhokra is a popular art form that has produced some stunning idols and figurines. Made from the famous lost-wax technique, these artefacts convey primitive simplicity. Dhokra, named from the tribal community from West Bengal, is now popular and produced across Odisha and Chhattisgarh. The similarities between the earliest known lost-wax technique to make the dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro and the Dhokra sculptures are quite remarkable and it is clear that there has been a continuity of the art form through millennia. Apart from the tribal characters and animals, today Dhokra castings include items like paperweights, pen stands and candle holders. Depending on the region where they are made, there are slight variations of these artefacts. For e.g. the figurines made in Chhattisgarh have a black tinge as compared to what is made in Odisha and West Bengal. #Buy Dhokra Online

Panchaloha (Pancaloha)

As the name goes, Panchaloha is an ally of 5 metals that include copper, tin, lead/zinc and, more importantly, gold and silver. The last two metals make Panchaloha items expensive and special. In South India, Panchaloha products are accorded a special status as they are considered to be auspicious. Several artefacts made from Panchaloha can be found across various temples and in homes of connoisseurs. While the production of Panchaloha has come down, Kumbakonam/Swamimalai in Tamil Nadu and Pembarti in Telangana are two centres that are still continuing this great art-form.
 
Whichever alloy or the art-form, there is always a wide range to choose from. Not only do these products add elegance to one’s home or office but also convey the glorious heritage of our land.


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