There were also several masons and sculptors whose medium was stone.
They worked on buildings, pillars, columns and statues. Many beautiful
monasteries and Hindu temples were constructed. A few of them have
survived the ravages of time and foreign invasions in different parts of India.
Animal products like silk, wool and skins were a source of industry for a
considerable number of people. Silk and wool products and articles made of
rare skin were normally used by the rich people. But cotton textiles were used
by all classes of people. The art of dying and embroidery was highly
developed along with silk, wool and cotton industry. The inscriptions show
that in central and western India, the craft of silk weavers flourished well, for
they were organised in guilds and made endowments for religious purposes.
But some silk weavers had to migrate from Gujarat to Malwa, probably on
account of declining demand for their products, and had to give up their
Trade and Commerce
Types of Merchants While the traders were a separate class by themselves,
we find references to two distinctive types—sresti and sarthavaha. The sresti
was usually settled at a particular place and enjoyed an eminent position, by
virtue of his wealth and influence in the commercial life and administration
of the place. The sarthavaha was a caravan trader who carried his
merchandise to different places for profitable sale. He often sold his goods
for three or four times their original price. Considering the risks involved on
the trade route, this was perhaps not unreasonable. Like the sresti, the
sarthavaha also was an important figure in city life.
Items of Trade While local trade was mostly confined to the articles of
daily use, trade between the different parts of India was usually for valuable
and luxury commodities like pepper, sandalwood, coral, musk, saffron, yak’s
tail, elephants, horses, gold, copper, iron and mica.
Trade Practices Narada and Brihaspati laid down many regulations to