"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:
technique of painting cloth with a pointed bamboo called
or pen is known as 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
unique genre of miniature art was promoted by Akbar and adopted by the
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
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.
ancient tradition of scroll painting survives in Rajasthan as
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
and Tantric Kundali patris and
Janma-patris were also
prepared from earlier times.
Pichwais are cloth paintings that unfold scenes from the life
of Lord Krishna 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
colourful decorative hangings in urban homes.
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.
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.