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.