It is a wooden sword made of Khadira tree. The Apa.1-15-13 mentions-sphya samya prasitraharanamiti khadiran/-the sphya, samya and the prasitraharana should be made out of Khadira wood. It is placed in the northern side of the Garhapatya fire. It is the first of the ten Sacrificial weapons. It is mentioned in the Texts - sphyasca kapalani ca agnihotrahavani ca surpam ca krsnajinam ca samya ca ulukhalam ca musalam ca drusacca upala ca etani vai dasayajnayudhani-the Sphya (the wooden sword), the Kapala-s (pot-shreds), agnihotrahavani (the ladle used in agnihotra), Shurpa (the winnowing basket), Krishnajinam (the skin of black antelope), Samya (the Yoke-pin), Ulukhala (the mortar), Musala (the pestle), Drushad and Upala (the lower and the upper grinding stones)-these are the ten yajnayudha-s or Sacrificial Weapons. Sphya is the first among them. In the Pindapitryajna (the sacrifice of lump offering to the Manes), a line is drawn with the Sphya, and on it the pindapradana is done. In the construction of Vedi (altar), it is used for levelling the ground, digging, touching the paridhis, drawing line for placing the ajyasthali etc. The Agnidhra, holding the Sphya, tied with the strings used for binding the Sacrificial fuel called idhma around it, standing at the place specified to him, does the pratyasravana With the utterance of astu srausat. The Apa.2-15-4 states astu srausadityagnidhropa renotkaram daksina mukhastisthan sphyam sammargascadhara-yan pratyasravayati. At the time of a Soma sacrifice the Agnidhra does as above standing in the Agnidhra hut - agnidhre some Apa.2-15-5. sarvatraivamasruta pratyasrute bhavata 2-15-6 - in all the cases the call for asravayana by the Adhvaryu and the responds astu srausat by the Agnidhra happen in this way. The Sphya is also employed in the Stambayajurharana. In the construction of Uttaravedi, lines are drawn with the Sphya. At time of purchasing Soma, it is optionally employed for gosaptama padollekhana. In the Somayaga known as Sadyaskra, the Sphya or a post with Sphya at the top is used optionally. The Apa. 22-3-7 mentions - sphyo yupah sphyagro va - the Sphya or a post with Sphya at the top should be used as the sacrificial post.
In the antyesti, it is placed in the right hand of the Sacrificer.
How to care for Wood Statues?
Wood is extensively used in sculpting especially in countries like China, Germany, and Japan. One feature that makes the wood extremely suitable for making statues and sculptures is that it is light and can take very fine detail. It is easier for artists to work with wood than with other materials such as metal or stone. Both hardwoods, as well as softwood, are used for making sculptures. Wood is mainly used for indoor sculptures because it is not as durable as stone. Changes in weather cause wooden sculptures to split or be attacked by insects or fungus. The principal woods for making sculptures and statues are cedar, pine, walnut, oak, and mahogany. The most common technique that sculptors use to make sculptures out of wood is carving with a chisel and a mallet. Since wooden statues are prone to damage, fire, and rot, they require proper care and maintenance.
It is extremely important to preserve and protect wooden sculptures with proper care. A little carelessness and negligence can lead to their decay, resulting in losing all their beauty and strength. Therefore, a regular clean-up of the sculptures is a must to prolong their age and to maintain their shine and luster.
Wood has been a preferred material for sculptures and statues
since ancient times. It is easy to work with than most metals and
stones and therefore requires less effort to shape it into any
desired shape or form. The texture of the wood gives an element of
realism to the sculpture. The selection of an appropriate wood
type is necessary for carving. Woods that are too resinous or
coniferous are not considered good for carving as their fiber is
very soft and thus lacks strength. On the other hand, wood such as
Mahogany, Oakwood, Walnut wood, Weet cherry wood, etc., are
preferred by sculptors because their fiber is harder.
A wood sculptor uses various tools such as a pointed chisel in one
hand and a mallet in another to bring the wood to the desired
measurement and to make intricate details on it. A carving knife
is used to cut and smooth the wood. Other tools such as the gouge,
V-tool, and coping saw also serve as important tools in wood
carving. Although the wood carving technique is not as complex and
tough as stone carving or metal sculpting, nonetheless, a wood
carver requires a high level of skills and expertise to create a
The process of wood carving begins with selecting a chunk of wood
that is required according to the type and shape of the statue to
be created by the sculptor. Both hardwoods and softwoods are used
for making artistic pieces, however, hardwoods are preferred more
than softer woods because of their durability and longevity. But
if heavy detailing is to be done on the statue, wood with fine
grain would be needed as it would be difficult to work with
Once the wood type is selected, the wood carver begins the
general shaping process using gouges of various sizes. A gouge
is a tool having a curved cutting edge which is useful in
removing large unwanted portions of wood easily without
splitting the wood. The sculptor always carves the wood across
the grain of the wood and not against it.
When a refined shape of the statue is obtained, it is time for
making details on the statue using different tools. This is
achieved by using tools such as a veiner to make and a V-tool to
create decorative and sharp cuts.
Once finer details have been added, the sculptor is ready to
smoothen the surface and give it a perfect finish. Tools such as
rasps and rifflers are used to get a smooth surface. The finer
polishing is obtained by rubbing the surface with sandpaper. If
a textured surface is required, this step is skipped. Finally,
to protect the statue from excessive dirt accumulation, the
sculptor applies natural oils such as walnut or linseed oil all
over it. This also brings a natural sheen to the statue.
Wood statues are lighter in weight and less expensive than metal
or stone pieces. Because wood is prone to fast decay by fungus and
algae, statues made out of this material are not preferred to be
kept outside. The rich tradition of wood carving in countries such
as Africa, Egypt, India, and Nepal has been followed for many
centuries. Indian craftsmen are specialized in this classic art
and continue to exhibit their extraordinary artistic skills.
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend