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Four more traditional Indian art forms

India is a rich amalgam of diverse art and culture each unique in its own way through which it showcases its authentic life and societal beliefs.

This article explores four traditional Indian art forms and celebrates the mesmerizing artistic history of our country.

Madhubani Art

Originating in the Madhubani district of the Mithila region in the 1960s, this Bihari art form mostly depicts the lives of the local people and their interactions with each other and nature. The paintings are strongly influenced by geometrical patterns that in an abstract way depict the trees, the moon and the sun. The women of the region use their fingers, twigs or matchsticks to apply paints on freshly plastered mud walls and floors of their homes. Paste of powdered rice was used for white, ochre for reddish brown and lampblack for black. It is interesting to note that Madhubani has 5 distinct styles that were done based on the caste of the women. Bharni, Kachni and Tantric styles were done by the upper caste while the Gonna and Kohbar styles were done by the lower caste women!

A Madhubani painting

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Pattachitra Art

Originating in the 5th century BC in the Puri, Konark and Bhubaneshwar regions of Odisha, Pattachitra is an ancient Indian art form that portrays Hindu mythological narratives. The creation of this style of painting was done as a family endeavour by the Chitrakars family. The women of the house would prepare the glue, the canvas, fill in the colour and do the lacquer coating. The men of the house would draw the initial lines for the painting and give the painting its final touches. The paint brush was made by tying hair of domestic animals to a bamboo stick. The painting was created using vegetable and mineral colours on a cotton cloth or palm leaves sewn together. White was made from conch shells, red from Hingula, yellow from Harita, blue from Ramaraja and black from burnt charcoal shells.

Pattachitra Art

Kalamezhuthu Art

This South Kerala art form is similar to rangoli and is a harmonious blend of tribal, Dravidian and Aryan cultures. The artwork mainly portrays Goddess Kali usually showing intense emotions such as anger. This painting is done on the floor using powder in only five colours namely White, Black, Yellow, Green and Red. Malyalis believe that Kalamezhuthu is sacred and therefore arrange for a grand Pooja to be done during the entire duration of its creation!

Kalamezhuthu Art

Gond Art

Gond Art

Gond is a 1400 year old art form that was created by the Pardhan Gonds who were priests in the Gond region of Madhya Pradesh. This work, made internationally popular by a brilliant Gond artist Jangarh Singh, lies along the style of abstract expressionism and reflects the tribes close connections with each other and their natural surroundings. A characteristic feature of this work is that it is rich in detail. It has dots and lines, bright and vivid colours and a lot of balance and symmetry. Wooden charcoal, tree sap, red soil and cow dung is used to create this artwork on canvas cloth or chart paper. Gond people believe that viewing a good image begets good luck and thus decorate their walls and floor to record history!

True primal art forms are genius and can get someone obsessed.

Which of the above did you like the most?


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