As far as the origin of sculpture is
concerned, it goes back to the Stone Age. The Megalithic people
buried their dead and constructed monumental stones over them
and worshipped them. The change Mohenjodaro Dancing girl over
from worshipping the ancestral spirits to a personal God is
reflected in making icons of the God with his specific
attributes. Tiny terra-cotta seals discovered from the Indus
Valley reveal carvings of peepal leaves, deities and animals.
The famous figurine of the dancing girl of Mohenjodaro bears
witness to the fact that the tradition of sculpture and bronze
casting goes back to the Indus Valley Civilisation and shows
tremendous sophistication and artistry.
The sculpture in India started appearing from 3rd century BC
with the stone pillars of Ashoka, the stupas and Toranas of
Sanchi, Bharhut, Amravati and
the rock-cut viharas of Barabar, Bhaja, Pitalkhoda, Karle, Bedsa,
Ajanta and others and Buddha Statue
continued till the12th century AD. During the reign of the
Mauryan emperor Ashoka, nearly 85,000 stupas were constructed.
Many awe-inspiring statues exhibiting a serene Buddha, with a
glowing face were crafted in large numbers. Though, Buddhism
deplored idol worship, human forms of Lord Buddha began to be
depicted with features like a halo around the head, the
dharmachakra engraved upon his palms and soles of his feet, and
the lion throne representing his royal ancestry.
earliest archaeological evidence of sculpture work in metal,
terracotta, wood and stone in the Indian sub-continent is
provided by the remains found at the pre-Harappan sites of
Baluchistan, the Makran areas of Pakistan and Kalibangan in
back to 3000 BC. Literary evidence Sculpture from the Rigveda
states that copper and bronze-smithy was a specialized science
and that craftsmen were held in high esteem. Whether it is in
wood, stone or ivory, the Indian carver-craftsman has been
extremely versatile in applying his techniques and designs to
various media. Carved wooden facades and fixtures of dwellings,
domestic shrines, temples, churches and palaces of Rajasthan,
Gujarat, Kashmir and Kulu in Himachal Pradesh are marked by
intricate designs. In Punjab and Haryana, there exists a
tradition of clay wall relief in appliqué. India is also famous
for producing a startling range of terracotta figures, ritual
and secular utility objects and toys for children.
Modern sculpture, like other mediums of art, has experienced a
revival. While the traditionalists continue to follow the
rhythmic, decorative tradition of the Gupta and Chola periods,
there is a growing breed of modern sculptors who are
endeavouring to simplify the art form and to bring in
contemporary elements and social awareness into their art.
Sculptors of this group freely assimilate art forms of Europe
and other places to evolve their own individualistic styles.
Some of the modern sculptors are Amarnath Sehgal (Conquest of
Moon, Collection in White House, Rising Spirit), P. Ramachandra
Kamat, Panchal Rajnikant, Dhanraju Bhagat, Jairam, D.P.Choudhury,
Sankha Choudhury, Raghav Kaneria, S.Dhanapal, P.V.Janakiram,
C.Dakshinamoorthy, P.S.Nandhan, S.Parmavisam, Vidyashankar
Sthapathy, S.Nandagopal, Chintamoni, Nandgopal Shankar, Niranjan
Pradhan, Pradosh Kusum Das Gupta, Meera Mukherjee and Jashu