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The "folk" paintings are living traditions, intrinsically linked with the regional historical and cultural settings of the regions of their origin. The following are some of the well-known styles of folk-paintings in India:


 The technique of painting cloth with a pointed bamboo called kalam or pen is known as Kalamkari.  Kalamkari is almost an industry in Andhra Pradesh. Black outlines of the pattern are painted onto the cloth, which is then given other colours like yellow, blue and green. Motifs may range from Hindu deities, the sun and flowers, to Biblical themes and even corporate logos.  


This unique genre of miniature art was promoted by Akbar and adopted by thePatna Kalam Art

 Britishers during the early 19th century. Patna Kalam reigned supreme in the realm of Indian art for well over 187 years, beginning 1760.  The Patna Kalam Art was an independent school of painting that dealt exclusively with themes of a common man and his lifestyle.  It was a Patna Kalam Art
unique experiment in painting in the sense that these paintings were neither the known Indian types nor British.  These watercolour-based works were essentially court paintings of Mughal and British durbars. This art form was first promoted by two painters Nohar and Manohar in Mughal emperor Akbar's court. In the contemporary times, late Ishwari Prasad Verma was recognised artist of this genre of paintings. 


 The ancient tradition of scroll painting survives in Rajasthan as Phad. A phad is a long rectangular cloth painting that tells of the adventures and travails of Pabuji, a local hero or other epic heroes. Usually about five metres by one and a half metres in size, the phad is painted in bold colours and is rolled on two shafts of bamboo, thus making it easy to carry. Painted by the Joshis of Shahpura, they have been used for centuries as a backdrop by Bhopas or the bards of Rajasthan who go from village to village singing about the exploits of legendary heroes. Scrolls of classical subjects like Bhagawata Purana or popular stories like Surdas's Saptaloka Ajara Amara Arms and Jain Patas and Tantric Kundali patris and Janma-patris were also prepared from earlier times.


 The Pichwais are cloth paintings that unfold scenes from the life of Lord KrishnaPichwais and are used as a backdrop for his idol at the Nathdwara Temple, near Udaipur, Rajasthan. They have deep religious roots and are devotionally rendered by the painters. Today, the Pichwais that are being painted in Udaipur and Nathdwara make colourful decorative hangings in urban homes.



 Tangkhas are silk painted scrolls executed in vegetable and mineral dyes on canvas and framed by silk brocade especially woven to look like the traditional Chinese brocades. These scrolls are painted by young Tibetan monks and trained lay artists. These are actually ritual paintings displayed only during certain festivals and generally depict the mystical panorama of Tibetan Buddhism and the mythology and lives of Buddhist gods and Bodhisattavas.


 Warli paintings, discovered in the early 70s on the walls of the mud houses are a unique art form of the Adivasi Warli tribes of Maharashtra. These paintings, which are done with ground rice flour, have a fine symmetry and are characterized by the meticulous use of colour, usually the red of the earth, the dark blue of indigo, sometimes deep green, saffron of turmeric, set against black, maroon, cream or beige background. Stick-like figures of people, animals and trees form a loose rhythmic pattern across the wall. The figures describe the everyday life of the people. Traditional values and superstitions are predominantly visible. The paintings are very repetitive and highly symbolic. A number of Warli paintings are representative of Palghat, their marriage god.



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