5 Famous Traditional Indian Art Forms

5 Famous Traditional Indian Art Forms

5 Famous Traditional Indian Art Forms

India is about many things. We are proud to be a country of cultures, festivals, cuisines, and much more. The 35 states and union territories spread across the country have their own distinct cultural and traditional identities and are displayed through various forms of art. Amid all the art that screams of modern and contemporary styles, there comes a beautiful relief in the form of indigenous and classical. They are our living tradition. It takes a lot of practice and dedication to make these paintings and keep the tradition going.

Here are the five famous Traditional Indian Art Forms - 

  • Gond Art - Gond Art is the folk art of painting practiced by the Gond tribe of the state. It has evolved from the dense forests of the Vindhyas, Satpura, and Mandla in the Narmada region of the Amarkantak range; the Gond art mainly represents the ancient art forms of Madhya Pradesh. They are the largest tribal/Adivasi community in India today, and their art is rare and possesses a great heritage value, and the intricacy of this art demands respect. Vibrant palette, double-lined outlines, and signature patterns are some of the distinctive and outstanding features of Gond art. These paintings represent the images of the lifestyle of the tribe and their environment, the wildlife of the place, and their surroundings. The paintings also illustrate the belief and faith of the tribe, various mythological creatures, and characters from the tribal folklore; all the above are an innate part of this artwork. Animals are one of the prominent motifs used in the paintings and the tribe believes that all creatures are inhabited by spirits, and everything is thus holy and sacred. This tribal custom of painting actually evolved from the mud walls but after its improvement by one of the most famous Indian artists, Shyam Gond, it crossed the traditional boundaries and started reaching connoisseurs of art. Traditionally, colors were derived from natural resources like cow dung, plant sap, charcoal, coloured soil, mud, flowers, leaves etc. But now Gond artists use commercial water-based colors to paint on paper and canvas.       


  • Madhubani Painting - The heritage of Madhubani art goes back at least 2,500 years. In Japan, there is a museum called ‘Mithila Museum’. It is also called Mithila Painting and it is one of the most celebrated styles of folk paintings in India which originated in the Mithila region of Bihar as a form of wall art. This ethnic art is one of the most famous art of Bihar and Nepal, mostly practiced in Mithila region. Every Madhubani home flaunts a sun painting. The villagers are dependent on the sun for a good harvest. It is painted in vivid colors. These paintings have been creating a world that resembles mythological, folk themes, tantric symbolism, love, and fertility. It represents the nine planets, the sun, the moon, and other auspicious symbols like the fish, turtle, etc. The sun inhabits a very important place in Madhubani paintings. These paintings are popular because of their tribal patterns and use of bright earthy colors. The work is done on freshly plastered or a mud wall. Madhubani painting is different from the other painting styles because of the balance between the vibrancy of colors and simplicity in its patterns. Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna, and Kohbar are the five distinct styles of Madhubani painting.


  • Warli Painting - Maharashtra is known for its Warli folk paintings. Warli is the name of the largest tribe found on the northern outskirts of Mumbai, in Western India. The 2500-year-old tradition of Warli paintings of the Thane and Nasik areas of Maharashtra are closely linked with the nature and social rituals of the tribe. This art form is simple in comparison to the vibrant paintings of Madhubani. This art represents the cycle of birth and death, fertility, and their everyday life. This artwork is very simple but interesting at the same time. Women are mainly engaged in the creation of these paintings. These paintings do not represent mythological characters or images but represent social life - images of human beings and animals, along with scenes from daily life. These paintings are made in the homes of Warlis. Painted white on mud walls, they are pretty close to prehistoric cave paintings in execution and usually depict scenes of human figures engaged in activities like hunting, dancing, sowing, and harvesting.


  • Kalighat Painting -  It is a traditional Indian art form that emerged in the 19th century. This traditional painting style owes its name to the Kalighat Kali Temple, Calcutta. These drawings on paper were done by a group known as patuas hence the name Kalighata Pata. The paintings evolved to the depiction of various other Gods and Goddesses and their tales. And much later the paintings went on to depict the daily life of the people living in the space, but the style of the painting remains the same. Kalighat painters predominantly use earthy Indian colors like indigo, ochre, Indian red, grey, blue and white. The swift, seamless, free-flowing outline is a distinguishing characteristic of the Kalighat style of paintings.


  • Kalamkari Painting - The name Kalamkari is derived from the Persian word ‘Kalam’, which means pen, and ‘Kari’, which means craftsmanship. It refers to a particular, intricate style of hand and block painting used for making narrative scrolls and panels. Andhra Pradesh is famous all over for this form of art. The major forms are Srikalahasthi in Chittoor district, and Machilipatnam Kalamkari, created in Krishna district. This art involves earthy colors like indigo, green, rust, black, and mustard. Natural dyes are used to color Kalamkari painting and these dyes are extracted from natural resources. The color pattern used for this painting also follows certain special themes and rules. Women figures are always represented using Yellow color, gods are in blue, while demons are projected using green and red. Lotus is the common background figure and red is the most commonly used color for backdrops.