Like in every traditional art or craft form in India, that one touches upon , what impresses is the skill and dexterity in addition to the time put in. The true splendour of the exquisite series of works have to be seen to be appreciated, mere description cannot do justice, to these richly luminous forms. Yet fame and survival does not come easy to the craftsman whose lineage has managed to keep the art.
the vagaries of the centuries patronage of religion and rulers preserved and protected the art and the artist. But in present times, like so many other art forms that entails so much time and skill, this too is vulnerable and incline toward evanescence. Compromised techniques and work methods have crept in.
The master craftsmen need to be nurtured and encouraged, it is hoped this precious heritage will be saved for posterity, the training passed on, gaining patronage of art lovers and collectors the world over, keeping the glorious tradition alive. Recognition of its value and the value of the artist, and the recognition of the artist and the awareness of the rich heritage are needed else we loose this unique individualized expression and skill of hand, to the mechanized product representative of the present material age, quick-fix-fill-the-till methodology that robs the art of its uniqueness and of its very existence. There is a great urgency to preserve the heritage and longevity of this art.
The book has been an endeavour to present to the sophisticated collector of art, a story of the craft of gemstone carving, and the craft of creating images and sculpture out of semi-precious stone - a traditional craft of aesthetic and cultural significance. An evocative history of its development, an evolution to the heights of excellence that have made it one of the more glorious arts, over centuries, culminating in the present moment. It is an opportunity to acquire a piece of our heritage and culture. A valuable gem, crafted into a unique work of sculpture.
The genesis of this craft begins with the workmanship of stone sculpture, which was honed and refined over time, as the Indian sculptor extended his craft toward more refined and valuable materials such as gemstones and semi-precious quartzes and minerals. While these lend an enhanced medium and greater potential to work with, they also present unique challenges. Needless to say the challenge was admirably met, adding further glory to the already renowned magnificence of Indian art and craft heritage. And at some period a parallel craft, of this workmanship of semi-precious and precious stone, evolved.