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Like architecture, the sculptural art of Odisha has its own specialty and peculiarity. Along with the architectural development one finds a gradual development in the sculptural style. From the earlier bas-reliefs of Khandagiri and Udayagiri there was improvement in the technique of carving and in the process we have low relief, high relief and three dimensional figures by 11th century A.D. Similarly, the change in the anatomical treatment of figures is noticeable from the earlier squatish and heavy set figures to slender and delicate figures with sharp features of 10th 11th century A.D. Besides, as per the use of stones one gets even good finish and high polish on certain sculptures. Facial expression is another important factor and the Odia sculptors had given life to the stone sculptures with their superb workmanship. The repertoire of sculptures in Odisha include religious as well as secular motifs such as Jaina Trithakaras and Sasana Devis, Buddhist figures including figures from Mahayana and Vajrayana pantheon, Brahmanical cult deities pertaining to Saiva, Vaisnava and Sakta sects and other cult deities like Surya, Dikpalas, Navagraha figures etc. and decorative sculptures, mostly temple sculptures such as nayika, mithuna, gaja simha, vyala figures, secular sculptures, social scenes depicting dancing, hunting and other facets of social life. The erotic sculptures of Odisha is a class by itself for its theme, depiction and placements on temple walls.

The Varuna sculpture on the Rajarani temple, the image of Parvati in the northern niche of the Lingaraj temple, the side deities and the female musician figures on the gandi of jagamohana of the Konark temple, the Durga image at Khiching, some of the Buddhist deities of Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitagiri, the stone elephant at Dhauli, the group of matrika and dikpala sculptures in the Odisha State Museum, Bhubaneswar etc. can be considered as a few among the best specimens of Odishan sculpture.

From the range of monuments one comes across in Odisha and the speciality of Odishan art ad architecture, the great tradition of more than two thousand years is quite evident and is a must for all lovers of art and visitors alike.


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