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Indian Folk Painting Masterpieces

Folk painting is assuredly the oldest traditional art still being created in India. The earliest examples - images of animals and hunters found on rock shelters in the region of modern Bhopal in central India - date back more than seven thousand years. The Indian folk paintings presented here still carry the lively imprint of ancient and inventive minds.

Folk Paintings are living traditions, which can be classified into two categories: those that are executed on ritual occasions for the express purpose of "installing" a deity, and those that are essentially narrative in character, the themes of narration being primarily from the ancient Indian epics. These may be executed on a wall (bhitti-chitra), on a canvas (pata-chitra), and on the floor (bhumi-chitra).' Sometimes the twin functions of Indian folk painting, the magico-religious ritual and narration, overlap.

Indian Folk Paintings: The Art of Magic Diagrams

"Magic diagrams", or auspicious symbols, outlined on the floor, in rice paste and/or coloured powder are executed by women almost all over India, form the major iconography of India folk paintings. These designs are known as kolam in South India, mandana in Rajasthan, rangoli in Maharashtra, sathiya in Gujarat, alpona in Bengal, aripana in Bihar, apna in the western Himalayas, chowka purna and sona rakhna in Uttar Pradesh, osa in Orissa and aripona in other parts of northern India. These line drawings are potent receptacles of cosmic powers that are essentially benevolent and protective in nature.

Ornamentation in Indian Folk Painting:

Folk painters in India have employed traditional ornamentation in their work. They have done so not so much to beautify their paintings but to more fully express their devotion to their deities. While Indian folk artists have created works pleasing in color and design, in no instances have they intended to make paintings "for art's sake" or for aesthetic reasons alone, that is, primarily to be put on a wall or other support and admired as beautiful visual form. An enormous stylistic range is evident among the traditions and types of Indian folk painting presented here, from bare essential contours to painstaking, miniature-like rendering of details to the precise, geometrized figural abstractions reminiscent of India's prehistoric painting.

It is the goal of this collection of Indian folk painting to capture something of the amazing spectra of the etarnal tradition of Indian folk art, and to provide a framework for understanding its motives and iconography. Folk Paintings have been selected here for their aesthetic appeal as well as for their representative value, and, wherever possible, to show the evolution of a tradition and even the contrasts within it.


Q1. What paints can you use on silk?


The best paints to be used on silk are silk paints which are transparent and vibrant in color and made to suit the fine fabric. Other colors which are employed by artists and enthusiasts on silk are- acrylic colors and watercolors according to personal choice, theme to be painted, and availability. 


Q2. What do you need to paint on silk?


You need a clean silk cloth that will serve as your canvas, a selection of colors you want to use in your art, brushes of different thicknesses to help you add detail, a frame on which you will stretch the silk fabric and water solvent resist to draw the desired patterns and images on the fabric. 


Q3. Can you wash silk painting?

With special care, you can wash silk painting by using cold water and a gentle washing agent. Wash the painting by hand, dry it in a space with no direct sunlight and iron it from the reverse by setting your iron regulator on “silk”.