Mythology carved in sandalwood

National awardee TK Bharani is one of the last artists to carve on sandalwood, and craft micro rice miniatures. His creations range from Swami Vivekananda carved on half a rice grain, to a four-feet tall Shiva in a dancing pose.

CHENNAI: It has been 33 years. Thousands of projects have been successfully completed so far. But TK Bharani’s persistence to chisel every piece of sandalwood to perfection continues to remain the same. The third generation craftsman was conferred with the prestigious Kamala Award for Excellence in Craftsmanship last week. We speak with him as he effortlessly carves a flower out of a leftover piece. “My grandfather started rice carving, then my father TK Kalastri innovated sandalwood carving. It is an art learned through just observing and replicating.


I have learned only one per cent. My son also does carving now,” shares the master craftsman. The Chennai-based artist has been invited by many universities from different countries to train their students. But he couldn’t pursue because of the language barrier. “I would be happy if every craftsman gets the recognition he deserves. Why not value an art that is native to your country? Given a chance, I would love to compete in a global level,” he shares.

Bharani, who currently stays in Thirumazhisai, works mainly with soapstone, rice, and sandalwood. All his sandalwood are predominantly sourced from Bengaluru. “Now the material is very much in demand. I wouldn’t mind stocking up even 10 kg or buying in an auction. I also have plans of using shreds of the waste wood. Like sand art, these wood shreds can be ground and used as a replacement material,” explains the craftsman. The artist is currently working on a four-feet high chariot that will have faces of all the mythological deities.....Read more


Source web page:New Indian Express

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