Messages from Ancient Vijayanagara

Stone Carvings

In several ancient civilizations, stone carvings would be used to record stories, religious beliefs, and other important events. According to Hampi experts, chisel on granite was the tool used by the Vijayanagara civilization of India, the great Hindu Kingdom, in order to create elaborate carvings of Gods, animals, and people. These magnificent pieces of art were then displayed in locations of importance and prayer. What makes these creations even more unique is the idea that, when being created, one wrong move would cause the entire stone to split. Below is a video of Indian stone carvings being made today. In the ancient world tools may have varied slightly, but the idea behind the creations are virtually the same.

These unique carvings give a glance into the past to the incredible time of Vijayanagara, today an area known as Hampi. Historical beauty and intriguing sights exist as far the eye can see, yet, while most carvings are up to the interpretation of the viewer, one in particular has a meaning that is quite literally set in stone. An imprint of a fish is left on a number of buildings and rocks throughout Hampi, and, unless keeping your eye peeled for this ancient reference, you would most likely walk or cycle right past it. This common sea creature stood for good, drinkable, somewhat clean water. This may arguably be one of the most important carvings created for daily life in Vijayanagara, and is an interesting thought for anthropologists to ponder today. We can assume from fishing around in these artifacts that stone carvings were not only created for worship and beauty, but as signs and directions for day-to-day life in this ancient civilization.

Stone Carvings

The stone carvings of Vijayanagara tell stories and beliefs of people years ahead of their time. The brilliant ideas portrayed in the intricate patterns are profound and intrigue many. And while the reasoning behind these designs vary; they all have incredibly important roles in the ancient civilization of Vijayanagara and the city of Hampi today.

Stone Carving



Sydney Morris


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