TRADITIONAL INDIAN ART
When we look at our rich and glorious past of Indian Art we can never forget those beautiful and elegant sculptures of Ajanta Ellora Caves, the world famous Taj Mahal, Buddhist Palm Leaf manuscripts, the mughal and kalighat school of paintings. Indian paintings have always been considered exquisite but the main point ignored by us is that most of these art forms depict the daily routines of the people living at that time and also shows pictures of festivals and epics from Mahabharata, Ramayana, etc. All these heritage art forms convey some stories to us.
Also if we look at our tribal arts, this is the best example of animation that we can find in pages of Indian history. Although the art and style is primitive we can’t ignore that at that time this was considered the best medium to convey and narrate the stories and folklore to other people. Understanding the style of scroll paintings, where drawings are made in a series which depict some actions, we can say that they resemble storyboards and are very animateable.
This section is an effort to highlight these traditional Indian art forms and blend them with the modern art of animation.
This school of painting was originated in the 19th century in Bengal. This style mainly revolves around various Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The place where it originated was Kalighat temple, kalighat, Kolkata, India. Flourished as the traditional art in Bengal it was popular in rural areas. Paintings were done on cloth or patas. The artistes who practised it were villagers who travelled from place to place with their scroll paintings and sang the scenes from the epics depicted in the paintings during village gatherings and festivals. The artists were called patuas or ‘painters on cloth’ and were said to be half Hindu and half Muslim and practised Islam.
The Kalighat artists mostly painted the goddess Kali. Goddesses like Durga, Lakshmi, and Annapurna were also popular, especially during the Durga Puja festival. The artists also portrayed themes like Sita-Rama, Radha-Krishna and the exploits of Hanuman. Another theme depicted, was that of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and his disciples. But the Kalighat artists did not restrict themselves to religious themes. They have been creating paintings on secular themes like terrorist attacks, draught, natural calamities.
The era of the famous and intricate mughal paintings started during the reigns of Akbar, Jehangir and Shah Jahan. Mughal painting was rich in variety and included portraits, events and scenes from court life, wild life and hunting scenes, and illustrations of battles. These paintings depicted their daily life routines and adventures. Extremely famous, it is a point of attraction not only amongst the Indians but also amongst the foreigners. Mughal miniature paintings have style.
Also known as Rajasthani Painting, evolved and flourished during the 18th century in the royal courts of Rajputana, India, flowing from the style of Mughal painting, itself derived from the Persian miniature. Each Rajput kingdom evolved a distinct style, but with certain common features. Rajput paintings depict a number of themes, events of epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, Krishna’s life, beautiful landscapes, and humans. Miniatures in manuscripts or single sheets to be kept in albums were the preferred medium of Rajput painting, but many paintings were done on the walls of palaces, inner chambers of the forts, havelis, particularly, the havelis of Shekhawati, the forts and palaces built by Shekhawat Rajputs.
The colors used in these paintings were derived by processing precious stones. Gold and silver were also used. The preparation of desired colours was a lengthy process, sometimes taking weeks. Brushes used were very fine.
Phad is a type of scroll painting on cloth. Rajasthan is the land of colors is known for Phad painting, which is done on cloth. These cloth scroll-paintings in folk styles are known as phads and they depict the lives of local heroes and their stories, and legends of erstwhile local rulers. The smaller version of phad is known as phadakye. Vegetable colours are used on cloth and paper for creating phad paining and historical themes are depicted on phad paintings.These paintings are created while using bright and subtle colors. The outlines of the paintings are first drawn in block and later filled with colors. Vibrant colours and bold lines, along with a two-dimensional treatment of figures, and the entire composition arranged in sections, are characteristic of these paintings.
Kalamkari Paintings and Designs
Kalamkari is an ancient and exquisite art work of painted and printed fabrics in Andhra Pradesh. Masulipatnam and Srikalahasti are centres which are famous for their beautiful, intricate and marvellous kalamkari designs and paintings. The word was derived from ‘ Kalam ‘ meaning pen in Persian, and kari meaning work, literally meaning Pen Work (kalamkari). In this art a brush like pen is used by the cloth painters of South India on a short piece of bamboo or date- palm stick, shaped and pointed at the end to form a nib, above which is a compact ball of hair, which forms reservoir for the liquid dye. The colors used in kalamkari are vibrant but very few in number. They were originally made in a variety of shades with tones and shades and an eye catching sporadic style like that of a choosy painter.
Tanjore (or Thanjavur or Thanjavoor) paintings have a very rich heritage. This style of painting has been followed widely by the people in Southern Tamil Nadu for the past two centuries. These paintings are known for their adornment in the form of semi-precious stones, pearls, glass pieces and gold. The rich vibrant colors, dashes of gold, semi-precious stones and fine artistic work are characteristics of these paintings. They add beauty and culture to a variety of surroundings and décor. The paintings are mostly of Gods and Goddesses because this art of painting flourished at a time when fine-looking and striking temples were being constructed by rulers of several dynasties. The figures in these paintings are large and the faces are round and divine.
Madhubani paintings, also known as Mithila Painitngs are practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar, India.The origin of this style of painting ventures back to the Ramrajya era. King Janak commissioned artists to do paintings at the time of marriage of his daughter, Sita, to Lord Ram.
The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud walls of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, hand-made paper and even canvases. Madhubani paintings mostly depict nature and Hindu religious motifs, and the themes generally revolves around idols like Krishna, Ram, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, and Saraswati. Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted. Hardly any space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and sometimes even geometric designs.
Warli is a small village on the outskirts of Mumbai, in a district called Thane. These drawings are different from other folk paintings, as these do not show mythology in their work. The origin of these paintings is still not known, but records date them back to 10th centaury A.D. As rice was easily available at that time, most warli paintings are drawn with the help of rice flour. The background is generally dark brown made from cow dung. The warli paintings show the daily life of the Warli’s. As they consider the Sun, the supreme, many of their designs are made in a circular form. Warli paintings depict stories through visuals.
South Indian Kolam
Kolam refers to decorative artwork drawn on the floor in front of houses and in front of deities in puja rooms. Most often finely ground rice flour is used to make these drawings on wet/moist ground previously sprinkled with water (even dilute solutions of cow-dung cake that gives a darker background to the mud floor).
Coloration of the artwork with color powders adds additional charm. It is a time old cultural tradition of south Indian families going back to many generations. the drawing starts with a certain number pattern of points and curly lines going around these points. Many of these are completed with a single line going in an elegant but zigzag way around the entire set of points.
Like all the ritualistic and traditional folk arts of Bengal, Alpana, is believed to have been used by the agricultural communities of the region for driving out evil spirits, to keep them safe. The art form of Alpana has been used since long ages for religious and ceremonial purposes and is usually created on the floor.
Fish, conch, kalash are most important used symbols as they are considered very auspicious.
Yantra And Kundalini
When imaginations are backed up with facts, it forms science. Yantra and kundalini, these two forms of Rangoli are basically the scientific visualisation of art. The aim of this form is specified. To keep the evil spirits out. These motifs have a secretive and pure aura around them that makes them fascinating.
Some of the other traditional art forms are
Kashmiri Paintings etc
Some of the Animation films that have been made using various traditional art forms as the base are mentioned below
Mukand and Riaz by Nina Sabnani
Freedom Song by Narayan Sai
Avataar by Upasana Nattoji
Pot of Gold By Nitin Donde
Alpana by Prasun Basu
The Killing Of The Aghasura Demon by Prasun Basu from Indian Heritage Foundation
Music Binds All developed by Mlab
Karadi Tales by ACK Media
Krish, Trish and Baltiboy by Graphiti Multimedia
Sulekha.com by Famous House of Animation
Coke Diwali Commercial 2010 by McCann Erickson& Freshwater Films
Sita Sings the Blue by Nina Paley
Girgit(Upcoming) by Gitanjali Rao