GUNTUR: Durgi stone carvings art is on the verge of extinction with a very few families still practising it. Even the Geographical Indication tag seemed to be of little help to the stone art sculptors. Dwindling patronage and lack of support from successive State governments means that the older generation does not want to pass the skills to the next one.
"We urge the State government to support us by providing monetary support. There was no difficulty in getting the soft limestone earlier, but today it has become very difficult," said Peddoju Bhavani Prasad, a sculptor.
Durgi stone carvings are timeless pieces carved from soft limestone called Suddha Rai in local parlance. The limestone is found under the earth’s surface and the stone is quarried using machines. The unique whitish gray stone is soft and preferred by sculptors. The Durgi stone carvings include a variety of sculptures of gods, animals and nature, decorative and delicate items such as stands, lamp shades, flower vases, jewellery boxes and the like.
The Durgi stone art is found in the temple architecture of Nagara type in North India and Dravida type in South India.Durgi stone sculptors belong to the community of Viswabrahmins. Craftsmen believe they have inherited the craft of creating life images on stone.
Majority of sculptors live in Obulesunipalle and Durgi villages in Durgi mandal. At present, less than 50 sculptor families are in these two villages. Many have migrated to cities and States for livelihood.“The previous governments did nothing to support us and we look forward to support from this government,” said Gurijepalli Pavan Kumar, another sculptor.
It may be mentioned that taking note of the difficulties of sculptors, Narasaraopet MP Lavu Sri Krishnadevarayalu requested the government to sanction YSR pension to sculptors above 50 years. He also sought houses, house sites and incentives for sculptors.