A black wooden sculpture of Lord Venkateswara Swamy was presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy during his recent visit to the national capital.
The sculpture, which attracted the attention of many, has its roots in a remote Andhra village with centuries-old rich history.
Madhavamala is a small village of Yerpedu Mandal in the combined Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The village is located between the well-known spiritual pilgrim cities of Tirupati and Srikalahasti. As many as 250 families of the Madhavamala village earn a living from the centuries-old legacy of wooden sculpture artwork.
The local artisans are well-versed in creating wooden artworks ranging from a height of one foot up to 20 feet and are renowned for making sculptures of Gods and Goddesses like Lord Ganesha, Subrahmanya Swamy, Lord Shiva, Goddess Lakshmi Devi, ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu and many more.
The popularity of the wooden sculptures of the Madhavamala village has crossed continents. The sculptures made by local artisans are exported to various countries across the world. The popular artworks are also exhibited in the go-down of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) in the Madhavamala village.
“This has been our profession for many generations. We acquired a loan from the bank to be able to do it on a large scale. We get orders from across the country,” Said Chary, a sculpture maker in the Madhavamala village told News18. Chary said they charge up to Rs 50,000 depending on the size of the wooden sculpture.
“We also give training to the people who are interested in learning the art. We create all types of sculptures. Some people want their parents’ sculptures, which we make with the help of their photograph,” Mani Achary, another sculpture maker told News18.
The artisans of the Madhavamala village use different types of wood ranging from teak to neem depending on the customer’s requirement. They charge a minimum of Rs 1,300 for the artwork of one foot made of teak wood. The sculpture costs less if neem wood is used in the making.
For the sculptures made of locally available wood from the Monkey Pod tree, the artisans charge Rs 700. The price of a wooden sculpture of Lord Ganesha made with calotropis wood of one-foot height starts from Rs 500.
“We make wood sculptures from six inches to six feet. We use teak wood and normal wood. Sculptures made of teak wood are a bit more costly. Government organisations like Lepakshi also purchase wood artwork from us. We charge a reasonable price,”