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  • Famous Ancient Indian Traditional Art and Paintings

    India is a land of cultural diversity but we can always witness that all these differences only makes it more interesting. Ancient Indian folk art is a tradition in India and it has been practiced through various generations in many parts of the country. With time, art forms tend to adapted modern resources but there are still few unpretentious forms who have survived the test of time. Most of the Indian folk art forms illustrate religious stories about God and Goddesses, and yet they are different from each other. Traditionally natural colours, earth, charcoal and natural resources were used by artists to maintain the natural integrity of the art. Ancient antique paintings are portrayed on the cloth or canvas.  Below is the list of ancient Indian art forms appreciating their uniqueness and magnificence –

    Madhubani Art

    Madhubani art originated in Mithila region of Bihar in India, hence this art is also known as Mithila art. Madhubani art is found in the mural and geometric patterns describing religious folk stories, God, Goddesses, Indian flora, and fauna. In ancient times, this art was used by women to decorate their home walls. Madhubani can be painted using fingers, sticks, brushes, pointed pens and natural colors and dyes. This art is mostly used as a part of the ritual during Indian festivals and happy occasions like birth or marriage, Holi, Kali Puja, Durga Puja.

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    Gond

    The Gond art form is said to evolve from Madhya Pradesh region in India. It is called Gond based on the name of ‘The Gondi tribe’ who is known as the inventor of Gond art. This type of art also focuses on the mysteries of nature, plants, animals. This is a very lively art form characterized by its upbeat colour schemes and vibrant looks. Natural colours are prepared from soil, charcoal and cow dung and are used to create this art form.

    Miniature Paintings

    Indian Miniatures paintings date back to 17th century and evolved in Western Himalayas. The art items are painted in small size with elaborate expressions and are inspired by Persian art style during Mughal era. The artists used to describe history and war. The main characteristics of a miniature painting are the enlarged eyes, sharp nose, and thin waist with men in turbans.

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    Phat Art

    Phat art is a traditional art of Rajasthan with paintings of folk deities of Pabujai and Devnarayan. The painting describes the incidents related to lives of these deities. It is painted on canvas and the paintings are generally large in size. Painters use natural colours and dye to create this magnificent art form.

    Kalamkari

    Kalamkari art is a Hindi translation for ‘creating art with pen’. A kalamkari is an ancient form of hand painting painted on cotton or silk cloth using natural colours and a special type of tamarind pen. This art is popular in Andhra Pradesh in machilipatnam and Srikalahasti. Machilipatnam artists create block paintings and Srikalahasti artists create designs on fabrics using pens. Natural resources are used for preparing colours such as fruits, vegetables, leaves and so on. Most common objects of Kalamkari art are flowers, birds, peacocks and Hindu mythological stories. In this day and age, this art has excelled as a popular art to create Kalamkari sarees.

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    Tanjore Painting

    Tanjore paintings are a famous art form of South Indian culture and are native to Thanjavur region of Tamil Nadu.  These paintings depict the stories related to God, Goddesses and holy saints of Hindu religion. Vibrant colours, precious stones, and ornaments are used to create these paintings. This art form is the blend of Maratha, Deccan and European panache and it originated in India somewhere in the 16th century.

    Thanjavur Painting Shop For this Thanjavur Painting Lady with Fruit Plate - Click Here

    Cheriyal Scrolls

    Cheriyal Scrolls painting is an ancient art form similar to Nakashi art. In current times, this art is only created in Telangana and Hyderabad states in India. These cheriyal scrolls paintings use local motifs and stories from Indian mythology. These scrolls are more than fifty feet long and painted in panels to narrate the stories from Puranas and Indian epics. Primary colours are used to create the scrolls.

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    Bhil

    Bhil is a folk art created by one of the main tribes in India known as ‘Bhils’. They live in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra region in India. Bhils are known as successors of Eklavya, the great archer from Mahabharata. Bhil paintings are mostly about nature and tribal lifestyle and are painted using bright natural colours.

    Kalighat Paintings

    Kalighat paintings are used by artists to raise their voice against social conditions and cause awareness. The art form is known to exist since the 19th century and was originated at Kalighat in West Bengal state in India. Initially, this art was focused to tell religious stories but in modern times it is used for social reforms.

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    Warli

    Warli is another tribal art form from the Gujarat and Maharashtra regions. The Warli tribe used to paint the walls to decorate their homes. This painting uses geometric patterns to describe life in a modest way. The art is created on gerue (red soil) base with bamboo sticks. Rice paste is used to paint the various life events like festivals, dancing, etc.

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    Saura

    Saura is a traditional tribal painting used by Saura tribe living in Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. These paintings describe the never-ending connection between nature and mankind. Saura paintings use natural colours made from neem leaves, herbs, and flowers. Saura art also uses geometric patterns like Warli however it is much bigger and extended form of painting.

  • THE DYING ART OF CHERIYAL SCROLLS

    Cheriyal is quiet village nearly a 100 odd kilometres from Hyderabad in the Warangal district of Telangana. This village with approximately 2000 residents and 600 plus houses is nothing different from any other village in any other part of India, until you visit the 4 households that have kept the dying art of Cheriyal scrolls alive today.

    The Cheriyal scrolls were renowned across India and the world for their unlettered form of story-telling. In fact these scrolls find mention in A Catalogue of the British Museum.Today this traditional art form has become limited only the village of Cheriyal.

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    The canvas scrolls are made on Khadi and are hand painted with unique colours made from natural sources. There are a few characteristics that make the Cheriyal scrolls and paintings instantly recognizable such as the predominance of the colour Red in the background and the iconology of placing prominent figures in appropriate order. These scrolls are painted in a narrative format like comic strips or a film roll depicting scenes from Indian mythology like Krishna Leela, Ramayan, Mahabharatha among other folklore from the region.

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    Tradition has it that these scrolls were used for educating the unlettered villagers and kept the local populace entertained at that time. The village poet or artist would use these scrolls as visual aid to tell people of these stories. Today, with the advent of TV, internet and magazines these scrolls have become a dying art and is just confined to the Cheriyal village. The artists have been forced to adapt and nowadays they paint smaller versions of the scrolls, sometimes limited to just one panel to depict single episodes from the stories.

    Another craft from Cheriyal that has continued to linger and survive is the contemporary Cheriyal dolls. These dolls are made of wood, sawdust and tamarind paste while the masks are made from dried coconut shells.

    Today, the government is doing all things possible to keep this tradition alive and theseCheriyal scrolls are regularly showcased in government run handicraft stores. While the Cheriyal scroll painting received Intellectual Property Rights Protection or Geographical Indication (GI) status in 2007, the families involved in this art form are anything but rich and now rely on education to equip their children for a better future.

    One such family is the husband-wife duo of Vanaja and Ganesh. Both Vanaja and Ganesh are government recognized artists and have made murals for the visit of dignitaries including that of President Pranab Mukherjee’s to Nagpur. They also travel to various locations across the country conducting workshops on Cheriyal scrolls for various state governments and helping spread awareness about this dying art form. The couple run a Cheriyal painting workshop for teaching the basic techniques of scroll making to the neighbourhood children with which they hope they can revive this dying art.

    There are many such artists in Tamil Nadu too who are keeping their culture and art alive, read about them here at: http://www.tnartisaan.com/

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