Saturday, 6 April 2013

Mandana Paintings as House Art in Rural Rajasthan

Some time back I was driving in the rural parts of Rajasthan moving from Jodhpur to Sawai Madhopur and saw some beautifully painted mud houses on the way.

Mandana House Wall Painting

I stopped to look at these houses and do some research on it. This form of house-art called Mandana is practiced by the Meena tribal community in the Tonk and Sawai Madhopur districts of Rajasthan.

A Painted Wall & Door

The Mandana paintings are mainly done by women on mud houses on occasions like the Indian festival of Diwali (festival of lights).

A Painted Outer Side Wall of  House

There is no formal training acquired and the skill is passed on from the older to the younger generation. The designs are in perfect symmetry and are mirror images in abstract style.

Another Painted House

The mud houses are made of clay mixed with dung and lime or chalk powder is used for painting the theme or the motif. Only two colors are used, red or mud brown (as a background) and white for the drawings.

Symmetrical Mirror Image Paintings

Most common motifs are of peacocks and flowers though other birds, animals and sometimes modern machinery like tractors are also depicted.  In majority of the cases that I saw, the women who have painted these walls have also put their names as the artist who has done the painting.

Peacock is the most common motif

Since more and more pucca (concrete) houses are being constructed in place of the traditional mud houses this art form is on the verge of extinction. This sort of painting is not possible on cement walls.

Pucca Houses have less of House-Art

Probably these pictures would serve the purpose of posterity for this dying tribal art.

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