Ivory carving in India
Ivory carving is one of the oldest crafts of India. The relics of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro unearthed finely carved ivory pieces. The artisans of Harappa had high degree of perfection.
There are several occasion in Indian history that proves that ivory was a legendary merchandise. The Ivory carving of India was world famous.
At some places ivory comb, bangles, rods and sticks, discs, fragment of a carved ivory casket etc. have been unearthed indicating that the art of ivory carving is very old in India.
In Ancient Bengal, the art of ivory carving reached the climax of brilliance during the rule of Pala dynasty. Finely carved ivory fans had earned enormous patronage of the Nawabs.
The technique of the Ivory carving had been hereditary. These artisans in the past hesitate to share the knowledge of this art.
The tools used in Ivory carving are saws, compass, files and chisels of different sizes and shapes, wooden mallets and hammers, etc. For each job a definite tool has been prescribed and it is only through guidance and practice that a craftsman learns to handle these tools. The create objects of exceptional beauty.
Models of fruits, birds, beasts, boats, horses, decorated elephants, gods, etc. are some of the excellent art work of Ivory craftsmen. They also make neck-lace and jewellery pieces.
The supply of raw materials from internal and foreign sources is a big problem and these artisans are facing bad time. It is very difficult to survive without the raw material.
The Ivory craftsmen are steadily changing their profession. They are taking up profession of wood carving, using the traditional skill of ivory carving. Some of the carvers have taken up stone also as raw material.