Indian folk art has evolved significantly over years, some with a hint of modernization while some remained purely untouched. Whatever remains are the unique, admirable, and inimitable folk art we know today. Here is a glimpse of the top 10 Indian folk arts that are still kept alive in culture in different parts of the country.
Originating around the 16th century, the features of these paintings are their miniature size and intricate details along with the acute expressions. The art form is popular and practiced widely in Rajasthan.
A religious form of scroll painting, Phad originated in Rajasthan and depicts the stories of Mahabharata and Ramayana. The characteristics of these paintings are vegetable colors and running narratives of various deities and heroic deeds. Every inch of the painting is crowded with figures and pictorial representations of mythological stories.
The Gondi tribe in Madhya Pradesh is credited for creating these vibrant and bold colored paintings significantly depicting nature. Signature patterns and lines are the eminent features of Gond paintings. The colors are drawn from leaves, charcoal, cow dung, and colored soil. However to reduce the cost of the painting Gond artists are moving to poster colors and canvas.
With its name originating from Persian, Kalamkari originating from Machilipatam is called Machilipatam, and one originating from Chittoor is called Srikalahasti. Both types originate from the state of Andhra Pradesh. Kalamkari means the use of pen for freehand drawing of the subject and filling colors, which is entirely hand worked.
Originated in present-day Bihar and Nepal, Madhubani paintings are also called Mithila art. It is characterized by geometric patterns and is one of the most popular Indian folk art forms widely depicting Gods and Goddesses.
Warli tribes from the Western Ghats of India are accredited for one of the oldest art forms of India, Warli. Triangles, circles, and squares form the main feature of these paintings. The Central motif in the painting is surrounded by scenes portraying fishing, dancing, farming, and marriage ceremony. The tarpa dance is one of the most recurring figures in the Warli paintings.
With its roots in present-day Telangana, Cheriyal Scrolls is a revamped version of nakashi art. With a scroll length of 40-45 feet, the paintings usually depict or feature Indian mythology such as the Krishna Leela, Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Shiva puranam, compared to the long scrolls in the past, now artists have adapted to using smaller scrolls that depict only single episode or few characters from the traditional stories. Cheriyal painting is easily recognized by certain characteristics such as the use of red color in the background.
Characterized by vibrant colors and bold outlines Kalighat paintings thrived in the 19th century around the Kali temple in Kolkata. Initially depicting Gods and Goddesses, these paintings took a sharp turn towards social reform eventually. This type of painting continues to influence and charm artists and art lovers all over the world.
Hailing from West Bengal and Odisha, Patachitra is a form of cloth-based scroll painting. Originating from the fifth century, it depicts Gods and Goddesses through angular, sharp, and bold strokes and lines.
Native to Tanjore, Tamil Nadu, these paintings date back to the inception of the 9th century which was the period of the Chola dynasty. Tanjore paintings boast metallic colors, semi-precious stones, and gold foils significantly.
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