INDIA AND ITS MANY ANCIENT ART FORMS

Art reflects our culture, beliefs and values. Art is a historical record and it must be understood and preserved. India is such a vast and art-rich country that this 2-page story cannot justify the topic. Read on to get the feel of some of the ancient arts of this country.

WORDS: SANGEETA S

INDIA is known for its traditional art around the world. Every region and corner of the country can find the origin of some ancient unique styles of art. Indian ancient art talks a lot about the life of people during that period and that is the reason scholars from across the take keen

interest in it. Apart from the beauty of the ancient arts studying the art gives good understanding of the traditions and culture of that era.

Some of the ancient arts of India are listed below:

Madhubani-Art

GOND

The Gond art is a form of painting created by the Gondi tribe of Madhya Pradesh.

The Gondi tribe is one of the largest tribes in India also found in some areas of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhatisgarh, and Odisha.

This ancient art grew with the belief that viewing good images results in good luck and that is the reason that this tribe decorates their walls with paintings.

The paintings are inspired by nature, but they also include images from the daily lives or even from the myths and legends of India.

The vibrant paintings made up of dots and lines use colours from coloured soil, leaves, charcoal and cow dung; today this art is imitated with acrylic paints.

The lines are made with such perfection that it conveys a sense of movement to the still image.

The dots and dashes enhance the feel of movement.

Vibrant bright colours add to the beauty of the paintings.

Nowadays, Gond paintings are done on canvas instead of walls and floors so that it gets easier to transport.

Kalamkari

MADHUBANI ART

One of the most popular Indian folk arts, Madhubani art or Mithila painting, originated in the Mithila region.

Apart from brushes, the tools used for painting are fingers, matchsticks, twigs, nib-pens, etc.

Traditionally practised by women, geometrical patterns largely characterise this art form.

Originally, it was done on the mud walls that had been freshly plastered and on the floors of the huts.

However, these paintings are now being done on hand made paper, cloth and canvas as well.

Paste of powdered rice is mainly used for these paintings; natural dyes, pigments and colours from plants are used for the colour.

Madhubani art is confined to a particular region and though the skills of Madhubani art have been passed on from generation to generation, yet the content and the style has been consistent.

Therefore, the prestigious Geographical Indication status has been given to this art form.

Having received worldwide attention, Madhubani art has become a globalised art form.

Gond

KALAMKARI

Kalamkari is hand painting done on textile with a tamarind pen and natural dyes.

This ancient art from Andhra Pradesh originated from a Persian word ‘kalam’ meaning pen and ‘kari’ meaning craftsmanship.

Beautiful designs are made using this art which includes flowers, animals, characters from Hindu Mythologies, etc.

The process involves 23 steps including bleaching, dyeing, painting, cleaning etc.

The art is nowadays used to make kalamkari sarees and ethnic fabrics which are very popular.

There are two types of this art – Machilipatnam and Srikalahasti.

Machilipatnam which originated in Machilipatnam, Andhra Pradesh is block-printed form while Srikalahasti with origins from Chitoor is a free- flowing art with a pen on fabric.