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  • Celebrating Spirituality of Lord Krishna with Sanjhi Art

    Sanjhi is a traditional art form from Mathura, the hometown of Lord Krishna. Widely appreciated for its spiritual outlook that conveys much more than aesthetic beauty, it is rightly recognised as one of the greatest forms of spiritual expression. The art form rose to prominence in Indian culture in the 16th and 17th centuries, when the floors and walls of the places of worship were adorned with Sanjhi inspired motifs and designs. The word Sanjhi comes from the Hindi word sandhya. This was chosen as a name because it refers to the period of dusk which Sanjhi artists often portray in their paintings. The art form often portrays stories from Indian mythology often focusing on Krishna’s Leela. Folktales suggest that the first Sanjhi art designs were made by Radhe who used flowers, natural colours and pigmented stone to make Sanjhi rangolis. Others soon copied his initiative, creating detailed designs to please Krishna. According to the tale, Sanjhi art became popular from that time on. The influence of the Mughal era added a contemporary outlook to the art form.

    Image Credit - pinterest Image Credit - pinterest

    After the ancient tradition of Sanjhi art was adopted by Vaishnava temples in the 15th and 16th century, it was developed further into a highly complex form of a painting by uniquely trained Brahman priests. Sanjhi art can mostly be seen in the temples which are made using dry colours applied onto an eight-sided earthen platform to symbolize a lotus with eight petals. The heart of the design symbolizes a seat for the divine couple. A detailed design in the sanctum sanctorum will often portray complex interlocked diagonal patterns meant to expand divinity in all eight directions. The modern Sanjhi art piece is created using stencils made from specially designed scissors. The stencils are placed on a level surface where the Rangoli is to be applied. Dry colours are then sifted onto the stencil. Horses, peacocks, trees and butterflies are some of the most common designs. Sanjhi artists' attention to detail is meant to signify intimate love and devotion to Krishna.

    Modern Sanjhi art is popular all over India. It is displayed in public areas such as train stations and is used in interior decor. Recently, Sanjhi art also featured in the pictograms used for the commonwealth games.

  • Sanjhi Art–The Beauty of Paper and Scissors

    The passion of arts in humans does not wait for any manmade canvas or paint for its expression. The instinctive urge to honor Mother Nature and avoid polluting it has led humans to experiment with natural resources. Sanjhi art is one such example.The word Sanjhi means “sandhya” or “dusk” and is native to Mathura,a district in Uttar Pradesh. Sanjhi is a traditional paper artthat makes use of paper and scissors only. It’s a skill of cutting out a beautiful yet complicated pattern reflecting panorama of Lord Krishna mainly.

    Image Credit - isha.sadhguru.org Image Credit - isha.sadhguru.org

    Mathura is known to be Lord Krishna’s birthplace.The people here are fond of making Sanjhi art pieces with zest and passion. Known for its spiritualty, Sanjhi art started around 16th century when people took interest in decorating the wall and floor of templeswith exquisite designs, intricate mythological figures and natural motifs with special focuson Lord Krishna’s Ramleela.

    To make Sanjhi art,designs are drawn using either hand or a stencil on a piece of paper and then cut using a specially designed scissor. In North India, people make sanjhi designs on banana leaves too. During paper cutting process,the paperis rotated carefully around the scissor so that the design can be neatly cut out.This step requires a lot of concentration as a slight slip of hand can spoil hours of hard work.Paper cutting is done without any sketch work or tracing. This paper is then folded from corners for liftingafter the color has been applied.The cut designs are carefully placed, sometimes on surface of water or a flat surface and filled with different types of colors which can be substituted with natural flowers,colorful stones,mirror pieces etc.After colorfilling, the artisan meticulously lifts up the Sanjhi, holding his breath so that the design doesn’t get disturbed. That’s the uniqueness and precision of Sanjhi art. Astep that separates success of Sanjhi art from failure.The stunning piece of art is uncovered at evening time during Pooja and the event is accompanied by reciting various songs and hymns that are related to Lord Krishna.Various art forms where Sanjhi templates are used are coasters, trays,paintings,wall hangings,henna patterns,bindi, lampshades and greeting cards. The art piece ranges anywhere from Rs 10 for a simple bindi cut to Rs 5000 for a magnificent filigreed Sanjhi work.

    Sanjhi art is a ritual practice that involves offerings to eventools along with deities and teachers.The tools used are carefully wrapped in a clean cloth piece to protect from rust and also as a mark of respect.Sanjhi art requires a lot of time and patience. A typical Sanjhi work can take anywhere between an hour and even a month. Sanjhi art pieces can be found in homes and spaces of art lovers. You can also see it at Delhi Metro Station and even at airports. Recently Sanjhi art was used as a pictogram during Commonwealth Games.

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