carving in India has been an extremely popular craft since ages. The
Vedic texts include ivory work amongst the noblest of crafts.
According to history, King Solomon acquired Indian Ivory in 10th
Century BC, and King Darius used ivory decorations in his palace in
6th century BC. Khadaon or the sandals made of ivory were
used in India, particularly by the Brahmins and religious
figures who considered shoes made of animal skin unclean.
is known for crafts on tusks of elephants. The Ivory carvers of
Bengal, Jaipur and Delhi produce objects such as the ambari hathi
or processional elephant, models of bullock carts, caskets, book
covers, sandals, palanquins and frames for the European market. In
Orissa, there has been a tradition of offering ivory inlaid
furniture to the temple of Puri.
shrines with delicate pillars and intricate low relief floral work,
caskets depicting scenes from myths and legends, and images of gods
and goddesses and Christian icons and symbols has been a tradition
in Kerala and Karnataka. Kerala has an amazing tradition of painting
on ivory. The state specialises in figures of gods and goddesses,
scenes from Ramayana and other epic stories and the statue of St.
George on a giant charger, killing the dragon with his spear.
is another important centres for ivory carving. Popular items like
chess sets, billiard balls and small articles like scent bottles,
paper knives, trinket or pan boxes, and a number of jewellery items
like beads, bead necklaces, bangles and rings are made here. Uttar
Pradesh is famous for its Hindu and Buddhist figures of deities,
dancing poses and decorative plaques. Ivory craftsmen of Gujarat
make human figures as also statues of deities in excellent quality.
Punjab's highly decorated elephants and figurines depicting
characters from folk or heroic tales are superb.
is also famous for its ivory items, which include fans with charming
figures for handles and the centre pieces for the dining table with
ornately carved receptacles. In Rajasthan, Bharatpur, Udaipur,
Jaipur and Jodhpur are important centres for ivory carving. While
Jaipur is famous for its carved ivory, Jodhpur specialized in ivory
bangles. The bangles were worn to cover the whole arm and they
decreased in size from just below the shoulder to the wrist. The Jali-work
of a lace like intricacy is testimony to the ivory carvers, fine
eyes and unerring hands. Animal figures, birds, fish trays, paper
knives and a host of other decorative objects are carved with much
artistry in ivory.
work on the doors of the Amber palace in Jaipur and the exquisite
inlay in the Mysore palace doors and the Golden Temple at Amritsar
proclaim the architectural decoration with Ivory.