Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, as clay), in stone, metal, ceramics, wood and other materials but, since modernism, shifts in sculptural process led to an almost complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded, or cast.

Sculpture in stone survives far better than works of art in perishable materials, and often represents the majority of the surviving works (other than pottery) from ancient cultures, though conversely traditions of sculpture in wood may have vanished almost entirely. However, most ancient sculpture was brightly painted, and this has been lost.

   Sculpture has been central in religious devotion in many cultures, and until recent centuries large sculptures, too expensive for private individuals to create, were usually an expression of religion.

   Sculptures have a very old history in India. Excavations of the old civilizations have shown traces of metal sculptures in the land. Different regions within the country differ in choosing the material of sculpture. Stone and clay sculptures dominate the east region.

   The temple is considered, quite literally, the abode of god. It shelters a sacred, “activated” idol which is alive and has a spirit and therefore, if the temple is desecrated, plundered or physically scarred, the resident “spirit” is lost and the remaining shell must then be abandoned.