This photo is from 2005. I used to buy a lot of statues through Suri but he couldnt support his family with just me alone so he started another business. I no longer work with him. Sad, but a great example of how this art is dying without support.
An artist files off the excess bronze from a large Mahamehru statue that will be placed in a Hindu temple. The worship of Devi in Srichakra is regarded as the highest form of the Devi worship.
The artist, Ragavanantham holds a Bogashakti that his collective has produced.
The eldest son of Muthu, Sivan, sits in front of a completed wax model of a trident with the goddess Durga on it.
A wax model artist, Budi, holding a wax model of the body of Ganesha. Each wax model is handmade.
A collection of wax molds waiting to be cast. Each piece has its own earthen casing to maintain its shape during the firing process.
To save money and time the artists wait until they have many wax molds ready for the firing process. Here they are organizing the molds on top of the firewood.
Budi holding one of his completed Devi Durga statues.
Nyoto is a new artist that we are working with. He is 38 years old and has been carving for 18 years and with us for only 2 years. We saw his raw potential as a carver with a skill set that just needed to be refined. I look forward to his future with us!
Nyoto is 38 years old and is married with one daughter. This is his workshop with various boulders laying about waiting to be carved into statues.
An artist carving a 3 foot tall custom ordered Krishna for one of our customers.
I just loved this picture of Nyoto's family latching onto their father. So cute!
Huan is a master marble carver in Vietnam. Because of his skill, he only carvers the faces of statues, which is the most important aspect of a sculpture.
Two Vietnamese artists carving a 9 foot tall standing Buddha statue. Sometimes up to 4 artists carve a statue at the same time.
An artists carving the backside of a grey marble Kwan Yin statue.
The first stage of carving a Buddha statue is the rough cut. This gives the sculpture the correct proportion. Here are two Buddha statues after the completion of the rough cut stage waiting for the details to be carved.
Finishing of Wooden Buddhist sculptures in Vietnam
The process of carving wooden Buddhist statues in Vietnam
This Bodhidharma sculpture was the first statue I saw on my trip to Vietnam. I immediately fell in love!
A wood block is used to hammer the carving tool into the statue. The depth of the cut is determined by the power of the strike of the block.
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It is hard to imagine that each wood statue started as a raw block of wood. Here, the artist draws the initial design on the outside of the wood. Then he spends the next days/weeks coaxing the god out of the wood.
Carving the details on a 36 inch dancing Ganesha with 6 arms.
An artist individually hand paints all the details on our colored wooden sculptures. Hand carved and hand painted!
Baskaran in front of a large Buddha bust! His work is just magnificent!
To make the skin smooth and the tone darker the artist uses a pumice stone to hand file the entire sculpture. This laborious process adds days to the total time it takes to complete the statue.
A sandstone Nataraja being worked on by two artists in Bhubaneshwar , Orissa. Statues from Orissa have their own unique style, much more ornate than south or north Indian styles.
Here I am contemplating this colossal Vishnu beneath a Banyan Tree in my friend, Balan's workshop.
Painting the finishing touches on a 40 inch tall, white marble sculpture of the Hindu Goddess Gayatri in Varanasi
On this trip I reconnected with a marble artist, Ellumalai. He works with grey marble called Durkey Stone. The stone is softer and this enables him to make each sculpture incredibly detailed.
Video of splitting huge blocks of marble. Just watching these huge blocks of white marble be split gives you an appreciation of the huge amount of labor that goes into making one of our marble statues.
Most of my colored red, green, and black marble comes from Balan and his 4 artists. Here he is with his two daughers, Aditiya and Agash.
Click to view this video that shows how these statues are made.
I loved how all the artists just did whatever they were doing while chatting away the day. It was very serene being there.
I was amazed how each curl of the Buddha's hair is made separately and then attached one at a time
Each patina is made in a completely different way with separate layers of color or gold leaf being applied
A video compilation of wood carvers from my last trip to Indonesia in 2020
Mr Komang with a large Krishna statue he carved for Lotus Sculpture.
A wood artist carving a wooden wall panel
Putu posing with his father's standing Buddha statue on lotus base in traditional dress before going to temple