India has a long legacy of traditional arts and folk crafts. The traditional art and folk craft distinguish one part of India from another. The folk arts of India are very ethnic and simple, and yet colourful and vibrant, it is enough to speak volumes about the country’s rich heritage.
In India, this art shows the creative role found in rural areas that acts as an encouragement to the craftsmanship of the rural people for Mandana Painting. Rajasthan is one of the most creative places known for its rich heritage. It’s delicious food, architecture, and beautiful dunes seen in deserts make the state a highly popular tourism and cultural destination.
Rajasthan has developed its craft through the magnified glares of rich culture and tradition and this makes its art forms unique from other places. As arts and crafts are the treasure of India and Mandana Painting of Rajasthan is one of them.
Mandana paintings are one of the oldest forms of folk art in India from Rajasthan that has survived over the ages. This art is generally done on the walls and floors of the house. Mandana painting artists believed that this art help them to protect themselves from evils and welcome the blessings and positivity of God into the home.
In Rajasthan, this painting is done predominantly by women, as traditionally it is their social role to take care of the house and the family. This art form does not require any formal training nor is it recognized as a discipline. On the other side, girls learn art by observing their mothers while doing the painting.
Mandana in the local language refers to ‘drawing’ in the context of Chitra Mandana known as ‘drawing a picture. Mandana is emerised from the word ‘Mandan’ which implies decoration and beautification.
They were drawn for spiritual purposes; the pictures usually consisted of the main deity of the festival. This served two purposes simultaneously;
- a) The god of the festival is invoked through the paintings
- b) The pictures were also a symbolic presentation of the god or goddess
The making of the art of Mandana paintings explains the traditions and cultures of its people in a simple and attractive painting.
At the beginning of the process clay and cow dung is mixed in water as it plasters the traditional pattern of the floor. The brush is made of pedicel, cotton and a small portion of squirrel hair.
The colours used are red and white, as these are the only ones easily available in the area. The red colour is mainly excreted from the brick and the white colour is from the chalk.
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The women and girls of the house make most of the Mandana paintings because traditionally in India, women have the responsibility to take care of their houses and family. Mandana painting is mainly made on occasions and auspicious days. It is a symbol of the presence of god and protection from evil.
Navratri and Diwali are important occasions to draw fresh Mandana paintings. This adds a decorative value to the house after the place is thoroughly cleaned. Temples are a popular choice for Mandana painters for celebrating the art and culture of Rajasthan.
The motifs used in Mandana Paintings are very simple and very basic. Its designs are very simple and common which distinguishes them from others as an attractive art form. Mostly peacocks are the common motif that is found in these paintings.
Some other types of Mandana paintings depend on the architecture of Rajasthan that are famous for ages. For example, the ‘Tapki Ke Mandanas’ mainly include triangles, rhombus, rectangles and squares geometrical shapes. Designs are first made on graphs after that points have been pointed on the walls and floors.
Other forms of Mandana paintings are ‘jaali’ or lattice screens. A jaali screen design is mostly found in their architecture and from here the artists get their inspiration for the new designs.
Mandana paintings have very simple designs, the artist made the design on their first try as there is no option of removing the design once it is made. This art form is not passed from generation to generation, only girls learn this art from their mothers for decoration purposes only.
But nowadays this art form is slowly losing its presence because now everyone needs a good lifestyle so no one wants to live in mud houses. Tonk and Sawai Madhopur in Rajasthan have few villages which still showcase Mandana Art.
As modern life and socio-economic development have taken precedence over the altruistic sentiments of the community, there seems to be very little time and space to practice this art. Moreover, there are also practical problems that have hindered regular practice. For instance, homes in today’s day and age, even in most villages, are made of brick and mortar.
One of the precursory conditions for the practice of this art is clay walls or earth as they tend to absorb the colour and lend a certain relief and texture, thus making it viable to paint on walls.
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