>> Bovi (Stone-Cutters)
1.0 Craft Identity
1.1 Name of Craft: Stone Cutting
1.2 Vernacular equivalent: Bovi
1.3 Craft description: The stone cutters of Hampi region are responsible for cutting suitable stone blocks from the stone and granite quarries around the area. These include sized blocks for masonry wall construction, slabs for roofs and walls and structural supports like pillars and beams. All these various types of stone work go into the making of intricate temples and carvings.
2.0 Locations (within study area): Venkatapura Camp, Hosa Mallapanagudi, Thirumallapura, Chikkarampura, Bassavanadurga (Koramma Camp)
3.0 Historical overview
The stone cutters of the Hampi region have, for centuries, been responsible for cutting suitable stone blocks from the stone and granite quarries around the area that eventually go into the making of intricate stone temples and carvings. Stonecutters as a community have been historically neglected due to their nomadic origins and have had access to very few opportunities.
Bovi is also “the name of the palanquin-bearing sections of the Mogers of South Canara. Some Besthas from Mysore, who have settled in this district are also called Boyi, which is a form of Boyi (bearer)” (ibid Encyclopedia of Indian Tribes and Castes, 2004).
4.0 Works Process
4.1 Seasonality: Throughout the year, except during the peak of monsoon.
4.2: Materials and their origins: Rock boulders and stone quarries around the Hampi region.
4.3 Tools: Chisels, hammers, nails, wedges, drills.
4.4 Work Pattern: Work is usually commissioned for the purpose of restoring heritage structures like those at Hampi or for traditional houses.
4.5 Products: Stone slabs and blocks of varying sizes
4.6 Pricing range: Rs. 2 per sized stone. A minimum of Rs 500 to Rs 800 for a tractor full of stone, and Rs 1200 lorry filled with stone.
5.0 Crafts-Person’s perspective
More than anything else they see their occupation as a way to earn a livelihood. They only select good stones, and they determine its quality by sight, a skill which they can only hone through years of experience.
6.0 Lister’s comments
6.1 Uniqueness: The Bovis traditionally relied on stone quarries that today fall within the World Heritage Site boundary. The government has currently banned quarrying within this boundary.Thus they are no longer allowed to work close to their homes, but are forced to travel far and wide in search for quarries, for a meagre pay. While many bovis continue to pursue this occupation, what they do is now likely illegal and they are unwilling to talk about their work.
6.2 Socio-economic data based on field interviews: The Bovis have historically fallen into the lower stratas of society, and lived a nomadic life in camps constructed outside the village boundaries, for they were not allowed to stay within the village.