Kalarte Gallery: India

Iron Sculptures from Madhya Pradesh

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Information about the iron sculptures of Madhya Pradesh

images copyright 2000-2009 Kalarte Gallery and Bernard Cesarone

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Select the image to see a larger image.
Contact Kalarte Gallery to order or for more information.
Dimensions are approximate; length x width.

iron sculpture, madhya pradesh Iron sculpture, antelope
Madhya Pradesh
ca. 5" high

$18.00
# MP-i05

view close-up


iron sculpture, madhya pradesh Iron sculpture, antelope
Madhya Pradesh
ca. 5" high

$18.00
# MP-i06

view close-up


iron sculpture, madhya pradesh Iron sculpture, camel
Madhya Pradesh
ca. 5" high

$18.00
# MP-i07

view close-up


iron sculpture, madhya pradesh Iron sculpture, camel
Madhya Pradesh
ca. 5" high

$18.00
# MP-i08


iron sculpture, madhya pradesh Iron sculpture, antelope
Madhya Pradesh
ca. 8 " high

$18.00
# MP-i05

view close-up


Iron sculptures of Madhya Pradesh

The iron sculptures of Madhya Pradesh have developed out of the tradition of ironwork done by the lohars, or blacksmiths, of north India. These workers have traditionally made various objects out of iron that were required for use by villagers, such as small and large lamps, chains, bracelets, farming tools, household objects, weapons carried by deities (such as Siva's trident), and images of deities.

These objects are often made from scrap iron collected from various sources. The old iron is heated in a furnace, then hammered into shapes on a stone slab or anvil. Parts of the iron may then be cut away and filed to soften the edges. Hollow figures are made by beating the iron into sheets, then folding and cutting the sheets into desired shapes. This work is undertaken by the entire family. Often, the women of the family will do the hammering while the men adjust the position of the iron on the anvil.

Beginning in the second half of the twentieth century, industrialization has negatively affected the metalworker's trade, as factories have been able to mass produce items that were formerly made by the blacksmiths. Economic necessity has thus forced the iron craftspeople to produce new forms. In Madhya Pradesh, for example, these may include statues of gods and humans, deer and antelope (strips of heated iron are twisted to produce the horns of these animals), birds and other animals. Some of these figures have traditionally been created for a tribal clientele in Madhya Pradesh but are now appreciated by a national and international audience.

References

Barnard, Nicholas. (1993). Arts and Crafts of India. London: Conran Octopus.

Cooper, Ilay, and John Gillow. (1996). Arts and Crafts of India. London: Thames and Hudson.

Shah, Shampa. (Ed.). (1996). Tribal Arts and Crafts of Madhya Pradesh. Ahmedabad: Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd.


Copyright 2000 Kalarte Gallery and Bernard Cesarone

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