Friday, October 18, 2013

The marble carvers (murtikars) of Jaipur

In the mid-1700's, Sawai Jaisingh II invited artisans and sculptors to settle in the newly planned city of Jaipur. You can still see them at work.

The photo below is of a murtikaar's assistant cleaning marble in the walled city. In the bottom left corner of the photo you can see "geru", that is powdered red stone, mixed with water. This is used by the assistant to highlight or mark areas of the sculpture which need more finishing or more detailed work.

The murtikars and their descendants continue to work the traditional way, and as their fame has grown, demand for their sculptures comes from all over India. Many sculptures for temples outside India also are made in Jaipur.

The themes are usually statues of gods and goddesses, such as the ones you see in this photo. But they also often make busts of political leaders, educators, etc, based on custom commissions.

Originally the murtikaars were Brahmins; but many other communities have joined this profession.

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