What is Folk Art

Indian, Japanese and Chinese Folk Art

Folk  art is any form of  art which is local to a particular geography, and may have slowly gained the stature of importance. A folk art is not limited to any particular discipline. for example, music, painting and even sports can take the form of a folk art.

Weaving, jewellery making, are some forms of folk art which have gained credence. Sometimes, these folk art become so important that they are sought all over the world. An example of these is Madhubani paintings. This form of art has started from a small place in Bihar, India. Madhubani paintings are sought after around the world.  Another form of folk art is miniature paintings.  Art galleries over the world keep famous folk arts as well.

Decorative artistic things are used for home decorative ideas. Madhubani paintings, miniature paintings, wood handicrafts are few forms of folk art, which are used extensively.

Chinese art

There are different Chinese art forms, but the two most important  Chinese art forms are Chinese paper cutting and  Chinese paper folding.  These art forms date back to han dynasty. Similarly kite is also given by China and noted as an important contribution to Europe.  Kite flying is also a tradition in India. Here on independence day, kites are flown all over  the country. Puppetry is also widely used chinese art, a form of folk art.

Indian Art

Indian Paintings have always been famous for  creativity and imagination. Warli Paintings are the ancient Indian folk art tradition of Warli Tribe in Maharashtra.  Walri or Varli tribe is an ancient East Indian Tribe of India. These tribes are the scheduled Tribes of India. Warli is a small tribe inhabiting in the remote regions of Maharashtra. The style is some what similar to the pre historic cave paintings. These paintings are exquisite. This art was first discovered in early seventies of the last century. Since then the art has traveled across borders and has now become a famous art found on various home décor products.

Indian folk art by Warli tribe of Maharashtra

Miniature painting is another form of folk art which was made famous during the period of Mughals. The style gradually spread in the next two centuries to influence painting on paper in both Muslim and Hindu princely courts, developing into a number of regional styles often called “sub-Mughal”, including Kangra painting and Rajput painting, and finally Company painting, a hybrid watercolour style influenced by European art and largely patronized by the people of the British raj.

Miniature painitng – Folk Art – Shri Krishna

Japanese Folk Art

Etegami, a form of Japanese folk art consisting of simple hand-painted drawings. This has become popular from 1970s. These are done on small canvas, such as postcards, so that, it becomes easy to mail them.  The basic concept has been around for a long time; the tradition of handmade New Years cards testifies to this.  Today, etegami is very popular folk art.

Etegami – A form of Folk art (Japanese)

Surajkund – Art and craft fair

Surajkund Mela is an Annual Craft Fair held in the month of February, in Faridabad district, 8 kms away from south Delhi. In the year 1981 it was held for the first time, thanks to the efforts of Haryana Tourism.

Surajkund craft mela is a platform for displaying folk arts and crafts from all over the nation. This fair presents an unique opportunity for talented artists ,weavers, painters, sculptors and craftsmen from different regions of India to display their skills .

As one enters the mela one one is greeted by a living Indian village. The uneven and unpaved path leads to innumerable thatched platforms that provide glimpses of the exquisite and skillful paintings textile wood stock , ivory work, pottery, terracotta, stone work, paper mache, lace work, cane and grass work.

Pic. – Wooden artifacts.

Pic. Blue pottery

You can also find Phad painting of Rajasthan, Kalamkari of Andhra Pradesh, Madhubani from Bihar. You can also find wide and delightful variety of brass wares, earthen wares and iron crafts.

This mela has amazing variety of products. You can find phulkari embroidery from Punjab, Lace and crochet work from Goa, Katha work from west Bengal, Chikan work from Lucknow, Banjara nad Bunni work of Gujrat.

Pic. There are magic shows, puppet shows and snake charmers to entertain you.

Pic. folk dance

Pic. another artist performing trapeze act.

Pic. Beside all these, there are special Natyashala folk dance and musical evening at open air theatre. People waiting for cultural events.

Pic. Charpai for all.

Pic. – The tie and dye and laheria designs on sari and scarfs flutter in gentle breeze attracting the attention of all.

So colourful.

Pic. Lord Shiva was also enjoying this fair.

For craft lover its a perfect place, not only because of the variety but the prices are also low as compared to emporium. It’s unbelievable to find so many variety at one place.
Note: All photograph are of Surajkund Mela 2010.
Indian Mythology

Madhubani painting – A folk art

This folk art painting originated in a small town Madhubani in Bihar, India. This is known as Mithila painting or Madhubani painting of Bihar . This art is characterised for its distinctive style, bright colours and natural paints. Today this art is popular not only in India but is very popular internationally.
The time of origination is not very clear. According to a legend it came into vogue during the time of Ramayan. At the time of sita’s wedding his father King Janak ordered the artists to decorate the city. Initially women use to paint on the walls and doors of their homes. Today also you can find this art done in many houses in Mithila.
Theme of Madhubani painting is religious and revolve around Hindu deities like, Krishna, Shiv, Ram, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati. It also depict natural objects like sun, moon, holy basil (tulsi). It also include themes of social events like, wedding, child birth. The space left after the main theme is normally filled with designs of birds, animals, flowers and geometrical designs.
The brush used for the Madhubani painting is made of cotton wrapped around a bamboo stick. The paints used are natural colours, deep red is obtained from a flower (kusum), green from bel tree, light yellow from turmeric mixed with banyan leaf milk, blue from indigo and orange from palash flower.
For commercial purposes, these are done on hand made papers,cloths and canvas, but the theme and equipments of painting is still the same.
Few Madhubani designs.

Slowly and gradually this folk art of painting has crossed the traditional boundaries and reached the connoisseurs of art at national as well as international level.