Know the Art


1         Dhokra Art

Dhokra / Dokra is non–ferrous metal casting using the hollow lost-wax casting technique, using the clay core. This technique has been used in India for over 4,000 years and is still used. One of the earliest known lost wax artefacts is the dancing girl of Mohenjo-daro. In modern India it is manufactured primarily in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and some part of Jharkhand.

Also knows as Bell Metal work / Brass work, the themes for the Dhokra artefacts lie in the periphery of tribal life and what lies at the core of their simple, rustic existence--while their proximity with nature manifests by way of bird and animal motifs, Dhokra human figurines, articles of daily use, and vignettes from their day to day life are enchanting reflections of their primitive simplicity. These artifacts reflect their creators' way of life, in their own way.

The beauty of any dokra artefact is that every dokra artifact is unique in the world; no two dokras are the same. The reason for this is dokra is completely handcrafted and therefore, the shapes are not perfect, and the symmetries are not mirror images produced like in machine made products. Dokra artefacts are made from brass and are unique in itself as each piece is made from a new mould which is lost in the process. The video below showcases the magical process of the “Dokra Shilp in Making”.

Checkout this video to see how much effort goes in, while making such items.



2         Gond Painting

Gond Painting is a tribal art work of the Gond tribes from central India. The fine lines, dots and dashes in vibrant colours dominates traditional Gond Pradhan motifs. The mythical beasts and the intricate detailing of flora and fauna are the dominant themes that have animated the lives of the Gonds for centuries and their art is used as means to record history.

The Gond art rendezvous with the belief that "viewing a good image begets good luck". This inherent belief led the Gonds to decorating their houses and the floors with traditional tattoos and motifs. Gond art resonates with a culturally distinctive ethos and draws inspiration from myths and legends to images of daily life, as well as it reckons with surreality of emotions, dreams, and imagination.

However, Gondi art has since transposed onto paper and canvass with talented artists showcasing their skills. The allusiveness and individualism of each Gond artist is defined by their signature styles.

The Gond art form - with a distinctive style which uses characteristic patterns such as dots, ovals and fish scales, among others - was nearly lost during the Mughal era and British rule thereafter. It started making a comeback in the 1980s . after J Swaminathan discovered talented seventeen year old Jangarh Singh Shyam, Gond artist whose experimental work was to earn him international recognition, is primarily responsible for bringing the Gond art to the common people. And soon Gond art, with its vibrant and compelling patterns, has captivated the national & international art market. There has been huge influx of artists from the community since, and in the last few years, many of their works have been bought by well-known Indian and global collectors.

Gond paintings are tribal paintings, drawn by aboriginal secluded people, far from the fast- paced civilizations. These paintings depict their quest for meaning and variety in life. For them the paintings are a portal into a surreal world, a world where there are no restrictions and imaginations run free. There are no mundane colors or void spaces, there are no blockages, the imagery is fluid and rhythmic. The Gond paintings are a manifestation of the basic human urge to fill spaces, to make the world more decorative, celebrative, meaningful and full of life!

3         Warli Painting

Warli painting is a tribal art mostly done by Adivasi from North Sahyadri Range in India. The most important aspect of warli painting is that it depict social life , and does not depicts mythological characters or images of deities like most of the other tribal paintings. Warli is the vivid expression of daily and social events and used by them to embellish the walls of village houses. This was the only means of transmitting folklore to a populace not acquainted with the written word. It is believed that these paintings invoke powers of the Gods.

This art form uses very basic graphic vocabulary: a circle, a triangle and a square. The circle and triangle come from their observation of nature; the circle representing the sun and the moon, the triangle derived from mountains and pointed trees. Only the square seems to obey a different logic and seems to be a human invention, indicating a sacred enclosure or a piece of land. The central motif in these ritual paintings is surrounded by scenes portraying hunting, fishing and farming, festivals and dances, trees and animals. The wall paintings are done only for special occasions such as weddings or harvests.

It is believed that Warlis carry on a tradition stretching back to 2500 or 3000 BCE and have strong resemblance to Rock Shelters paintings of Bhimbetka (MP).


4         Odisha Stone Carving

This form of art is one of the most ancient crafts and practiced in almost all parts of Orissa, which is evident from the innumerable archaeological monuments, caves and sculptures built for centuries. Mute, cold stones are transformed into vivid expressions and the warmth and smoothness generates into the various facts of human life. Only a few simple tools like hammers and chisels of various shapes and sizes better known as 'Muna', 'Patili', 'Martual', 'Thuk-Thuki' and 'Nihana' in local parlance are enough to carve on varied stone base from the ultra soft white soapstone (Khadipathara), serpentine stone (Kochilapathara) and pinkish stone (Sahanapathara/Baulapathara) and the hardest of all black granite( Mugunipathara).

The making of stone carving includes the following steps where initially using a saw and a chisel the raw stone is cut according to the planned size and then the side of the stone is made even by an instrument called Randa which takes off the roughness. Then the desired pattern is drawn by using a pencil after which the artisan shapes by using a chisel. Now hammer and chisel is used to get a deeper carving of the already subjected shape. Using two other instruments called guna and tagi further refinement is done where the artisan makes his own judgment for using the right size of instrument which influences the quality. At this stage paper is used to polish the carving.

Stone carvings of Orissa dates back to the 13th century A.D, which was contemporary to the Kalinga School of medieval North Indian architecture. The state of Orissa in India is known for its rich cultural and artistic inheritance. Orissa a traditionally old state was ruled by many rulers in the past because of which various fields including arts and crafts underwent lot of changes. The huge repertoire of stone carving is best revealed in the architecture and rock-cut sculptures of Lingraja, Jagannath, Mukteshwara, Konark Sun Temple and other temples of Orissa. The Devdasis and other women figures depicted in the “Konark Sun Temple” are unique.

Traditionally religious figurine have been the prominent themes in this art forms like Natraj, Krishna & Radha, Laxmi, Vishnu, Durga, Ganesha. Another prominent motif had been the Konark wheel, along with Debdasis, Sura-sundaries,   horse, elephant, lion etc.

The stone carving is one important form of art which is still being practiced by many craftsmen and it is even their form of livelihood. This form of art of Orissa evolved over centuries and is preserved with a lot of love and care and has reached an amazed elevation of standard as it is practiced for centuries and the disciplined efforts made by the generations. Descendants of great builders of the world famous temple of Lord Jagannath, Lingaraj and Konark continue the age old tradition even today. Contemporary artisans introduction has paved the way for  Product diversification, which has led the trend into producing some utilitarian items like candle stand, pen stand, paper weight, bookend and lamp base etc

The grandeur of rich cultural heritage reflects in the intricately carved and beautifully proportioned stone sculpture of Orissa...


5         Madhubani

Madhubani, literally means “Forest of Honey”, (‘Madhu’-honey, ‘Ban’-forest or woods), is an art form done in the “Mithila” region on Bihar & Nepal, thus also known as “Mithila Art”. These eye catching paintings are for every occasions and festivals. The first reference to these paintings dates back to the time of Ramayana, when King Janaka ordered to have this done for his daughter, Sita's, wedding.

The themes, on which these paintings are based, are predominantly nature and mythological events. Strong characteristics of these paintings are; Usage of vibrant natural colours; and no empty space on the canvas, also shading is very minimal. Almost anything can be used as brushes from fingers, sticks & twigs to now even nib pens & matchsticks. Its strokes are precise and bold at the same time.

There are 5 distinct types of styles, based on the artist’s community. Generally Madhubani paintings carry no marks of its creator and artists are mostly unknown. This art form is passed on from one generation to other, mainly by women.

Mithila painting was unknown to the outside world until the massive earthquake of 1934 when the houses and walls tumbled down and it was British colonial officer in Madhubani District, William G. Archer,discovered the painting found in the rubble. This art form has gained national and international fame since then, and is much in demand by collectors.


6         Pattachitra

Pattachitra style of painting is one of the oldest and most popular art forms of Odisha. The name Pattachitra has evolved from the Sanskrit words patta, meaning canvas, and chitra, meaning picture. Pattachitra is thus a painting done on canvas, and is manifested by rich colourful application, creative motifs and designs, and portrayal of simple themes, mostly mythological in depiction.The traditions of pattachitra paintings are more than thousand years old.

The painting the 'pattachitra' resemble the old murals of Odisha especially religious centres of Puri, Konark and Bhubaneshwar region, dating back to the 5th century BC..

The theme of Oriya painting centres round the Jagannath and the Vaishnava cult. The subject matter of Patta Chitra is mostly mythological, religious stories and folk lore. Themes are chiefly on Lord Jagannath and Radha-Krishna, different "Vesas" of Shri Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra, temple activities, the ten incarnations of Vishnu basing on the 'Gita Govinda' of Jayadev, Kama Kujara Navagunjara, Ramayana, Mahabharata


7         Palm Leaf Painting Pattachitra

Palm leaf pattachitra which is in Oriya language known as Tala Pattachitra drawn on palm leaf.

As the first step in the process of Palm Leaf Pattachitra, palm leaves are left for becoming hard after being taken from tree. Then these are sewn together to form like a canvas. The images are traced by using black or white ink to fill grooves etched on rows of equal-sized panels of palm leaf that are sewn together. These panels can also be easily folded like a fan and packed in a compact pile for better conservation. Often palm-leaf illustrations are more elaborated, obtaining by superimposing layers that are glued together for most of the surface, but in some areas can open like small windows to reveal a second image under the first layer.


8         Saura Art

Saura painting is a style of wall mural paintings associated with the Saura tribals of the state of Odisha in India. These paintings, also called ikons (or ekons) are visually similar to Warli paintings and hold religious significance for the Sauras. Sauras, Saoras, Savaras or even Sabris as they are called, find a mention in the Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata. Savari, Rama’s devotee in the Ramayana and Jara, the hunter who mortally wounded Krishna with an arrow, and Ekalavya of Mahabharata fame, are thought to have been members of this tribe.

Originally created on the inner walls of the Saora houses, these paintings or 'italons' were meant to appease the presiding deity, 'Edital' and deceased ancestors, and for superstitious purposes such as averting disease, preserve good harvest.

The paintings' backdrop is prepared from red or yellow ochre earth which is then painted over using brushes fashioned from tender bamboo shoots. In a Saura painting the border is drawn first, after which the interiors are filled, this is called the fish-net approach. 

Saura paintings have a striking visual semblance to Warli art and both use clear geometric frames for their construction but they differ in both their style and treatment of subjects. In Saura paintings, a fish-net approach - of painting from the border inwards - is used while this not the case with Warli paintings. Although both are examples of tribal pictographs that employ stick figures, Warli paintings use conjoint triangles to depict the human body while the figures are not as sharply delineated in Saura paintings. Also, unlike the Warli paintings where male and female icons are clearly distinguishable, in Saura art there is no such physical differentiation.