Most art and crafts of Karnataka are produced by using traditional methods, which has proved to be the hallmark of fineness in craftsmanship for Karnataka artisans. The temples and monuments in Karnataka are the living examples of stonework and the perfect skills of the craftsmen in the state. Moreover, these crafts have been going on for generations. Paintings, ivory carving, sandalwood crafts, rosewood craft, Shivani wood craft, Mysore silk etc., are some of the many stunningly beautiful crafts seen in Karnataka.
Wood Works or woodcarving is an ancient and very popular craft of Karnataka. The temples of the state and their architecture showcase the most impressive works of wood in Karnataka. The detailed designs done on wooden ceilings, doors etc., show the best of such works. The wooden works are done by means of traditional methods. Many idols of deities are also a part of this beautiful crafts.
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Shivani Wood carving in Karnataka began in Gulbarga during the period of the Nayakas in the Indian history. Craftsmen skilled in doing intricate wood carving in different kinds of wood, were brought in to work in the palaces of the Nayaka Kings. These craftsmen had a very unique style, as they were skilled in incorporating regional forms and techniques.
The process of wood carving begins with making a sketch on the wood and outlining the basic shape with a chisel. While rough cutting is done with flat chisels, carving tools are used for the fine carving. A smooth finish is given by filing and sandpapering the surface.
Wood like Shivani, Neem and Teak is used for making carved doors and pillars, deities and wall panels depicting mythological scenes. The craftsmen derive inspiration from Hoysalan, Chalukyan and Rastrakutan styles.
A recent innovation is the use of metal images in the wood carving, especially for the main deity.