Anonymous sculptors: our gratitude to you

Sculptures are one of the most cogent form of expression to convey the deep seated emotions within the crevasses of the mind & the heart of the sculptor. They do follow a certain set of guidelines but it is truthfully free outpour of human emotions that masterpieces such as the Bronze Horseman in the Decembrist Square at St Petersburg get created.

World has been witness and is indebted to such celebrated names in the sculpting history as the two Germans namely Tilman Riemenschneider, one of the most prolific and versatile sculptors of the transition period between late Gothic and Renaissance, a master in stone and limewood and Veit Stoss whose works in wood have simply been matchless. One would have to see such masterpieces as the Altar of Maria at Creglingen by the former at the one at the St Mary’s Church at Krakow by Stoss to know of the masters’ virtuosity. It would not require a connoisseur at arts to establish these and many such fine works of art as true repositories for our generations to appreciate and understand their contribution and that of numerous other masters at art besides the both of them.

Works of art at Angkor did not throw up such big names, though, yet the class of their works on sandstone is by no means any inferior to any great sculptor of any era.  They remained in total anonymity; perhaps by their tradition. One might dare state with total earnestness & full equanimity that if Angkor has become an icon in the world which everyone wants to come and marvel at, it is largely due to the work of those sculptors whose name aren’t known to anyone. Their works, though beaten by weather and marauding men, are very fine pieces of artwork. At Kanchi in India, similar works are in fine shape due to upkeep & maintenance. We must express our gratitude to each one of them. Each one of them.

Once again, even at the cost of repetition, it must be said that whilst hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands must have been engaged in the sculpting work for years, it by no means can be & need be compared to stand alone sculptures, anywhere. There is no visible tell-tale, deterioration in quality or change in the style of workmanship that could indicate to anyone as to where one finished and the other started. It is absolutely seamless work by artists steeped in a tradition who knew exactly what & how it was to be done. Absolutely.

Be is large sized bas-reliefs, free-standing figures or work on the walls and ceilings, it is flawless, everywhere. I have tried to explode each picture many times without locating any deviation. Although each & every piece of work is excellent, but what has been created at Banteay Srei in Pink Sandstone is just marvellous and a veritable treasure of arts. It takes one immense effort to figure out that we are watching such intricate work is sandstone; not on limewood or walnut wood. It is just amazing. Why, for example, the apsaras at Angkor Wat or at Bayon, Ta Prom or anywhere else, all are entirely different in each & every aspect. Or take the lion sculptures at Angkor Wat, Pra Rup or elsewhere, each is exact replica of the other although the style varies from temple to temple. But at any one place, all are exactly same. And these are sculptures created one piece by one piece; not cloned in a block maker’s workshop.

Lat us all celebrate the spirit of those selfless masters who nobody know; nobody shall ever know. Ever.

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