Exploring how art forms have changed over the years
By: Aditi Iyer
Art over the centuries has been continually changing. The incorporation of newer elements into centuries old artforms is a common trend that can be observed when analysing the evolution of art. Art, in its various forms like music, theatre, and handicrafts, evolves to sustain itself to ensure it does not die out. Various art forms have stood the test of time by adapting to current times and incorporating newer styles or forms of creating handicrafts. Art forms such as Bastar, Kavad, Madhubani and Blue Pottery have all changed and evolved over time, into the art forms that we see today.
Named after the Madhubani district in Bihar, it is said to have existed from the 8th or 7th century BCE. Created by a group of women living in the Mithila region, Madhubani was first painted on the walls of their mud huts. Madhubani stands out as an art form historically developed and dominated by women, in a field that has been and continues to be male dominated. This art form was initially made using shades of black and brown, a fact that is largely unknown by people. The artform began incorporating vibrant colours in order to appear attractive, resulting in the art form that we see today.
Kavad or Kaavad has existed for around 500 years in Bassi, Rajasthan. Also called a portable shrine, it tells religious and mythological stories- artisans have used the Kavad for passing down stories over the centuries, blending carpentry, painting and storytelling into one art form. Though Kavad has survived until now, it is slowly dying out- it is a very niche art form. Only around 10-12 people in India are engaged in authentically making Kavad, while over 90% of what is distributed is machine made. Artisans are trying to generate awareness about this unique art form, and The Palkhi aims to promote it by ensuring authentic Kavads in its collection.
Bastar or Wrought Iron craft is practised in the Bastar region of Chhattisgarh, which historically has been rich in iron deposits. It originated from tribal ironmongers and was used to make tools for hunting and farming. The art form evolved, with artisans creating tealight holders or diyas, while incorporating animal motifs. Bastar has evolved with an increase in its recognition and exposure, and has diversified into home decor like clocks, idols and statues. Bastar was extremely niche and under-represented, but it is slowly gaining recognition among people. The Palkhi has various Wrought Iron Crafts in its collection, aiming to promote this art form.
Jaipur is famous for its Blue Pottery, with its deep blue hue and beautiful finish. The art form, however, originates from Turkey, and entered India through Turkish invasions. It travelled down from Afghanistan into Kashmir, and eventually to Rajasthan. India has been invaded by many different countries, and historically, we have added their culture into our own culture. Indian artisans incorporated the designs and technique of making Blue Pottery into India’s cultural heritage, blending foreign and local designs into a completely new art form.