Folk Paintings of Madhya Pradesh

Origin: A sanyasi was once meditating. When a group of young girls began to mock him and throw fresh cow-dung on him. The angered sanyasi was about to curse these girls. When suddenly, a gorgeous girl appeared from thin area and calmed him down. Suddenly, the beautiful girl d disappeared. Calm sanyasi forgave the girls, advising them to draw the goddess with fresh cow-dung every year during pitri-paksha. And, so was born the mystic art of Sanjhi.

The story retaliates that the roots of Indian craft are buried much deep into the past. Rock shelters and caves work as museums highlighting illustrations from the bygone era such as dots, squares, vertical lines, horizontal lines, human and animal figures etc.  Tribals of yore sketched auspicious paintings on caves to ward off evil spirits and disease. Bagh in MP houses Buddhist rock-carved monasteries. The Bhilala tribe paints Pithora painting that depicts myths about human Creation.  

Seals and amulets of Indus Valley also give glimpses of traditional paintings. Ancient such as Ancient treatise Vishnudharmottara Purana refers to dhuli chitra (made with powder colours) and rasa chitras (made with wet colours).  Tribes of Bhils and Bhilala draw myths and objects of their daily life such as horses, tigers, birds etc. 

Mandanas a famous form of painting derives its name from the word mandan meaning ornamentation.  They are drawn on the walls and floors of the houses using rice paste, coloured powder, flower petals or grains of rice. The vocabulary of Mandana motifs are floral and geometric patterns. These are painted to attract wellbeing. 

The court of Malwa ensured that Mughal miniature paintings with Persian influence are visible in MP. 

In Bundelkhand, a caste of professional painters called Chiteras paint. In Chhattisgarh, a process called Lipai is carried. Under this, linear patterns are etched with fingers on mud plaster base. Chhatisgarh is also home to tattoo art done by women of Badi community. Complex and beautiful patterns, they have incorporated by many designers.  Gond 

These paintings also depict auspicious beliefs of rural rustic people and their emotions. The festivities can be seen in these colorful paintings.

Present Day: The Malwa, Nimar and Tanwarghar regions of Madhya Pradesh are famous for their Mandana. The folk paintings of Madhya Pradesh are famous for their beautiful representation of art combined with daily lives of tribal people of Madhya Pradesh.  These paintings not only serve the purpose of décor but also have strong religious roots.  Presently, these paintings are basically done on occasions depending on the festival or the ritual. 

Procedure: The material used for these paintings are chalk powder, colored chalk powder, chalk paste, turmeric and saffron paste. These paintings are done using bright colors like red, blue, green and yellow etc. They make use of traditional brushes made up of cotton balls attached to a stick. 

These paintings include motifs like flower, swastika, animals and birds like elephant, horse, peacock, parrot and snakes etc.  This art form is generally done by women and is passed on from generation to generation. The women keep on making such paintings depending on festivals. Few examples paintings of snakes are made during Nag Panchami, painting of Lord Krishna is made during Janmaashtmi, painting of god Ganesha and goddesses Laxmi during deepawali. Mandana Paintings are made with mixture of red clay and cowdung as base and then painted with white colour. These paintings are world famous for their exceptional choice of colors and themes.

Recent years have witnessed these paintings getting poplar in U.K, Germany, Netherland, Italy, France and Gulf Countries etc.

Bring Home Paintings:  You can buy these folk paintings from MP State Emporium, GTB Complex, TT Nagar in Bhopal and in Indore at MT Market and Handicrafts emporium. 

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