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How The Gamut of Colours Came to Life in Traditional Art

Updated: Jul 6, 2022


From the candor of a scorching yellow sun to life being formed and destroyed in a deep green forest, color has always been a component of life.


Bhimbetka rock shelter

India has been internationally renowned for its rich diversity, which is clearly expressed in its diverse art forms, of which painting is one.

Indian painting is a mix of culture and heritage; this art form has been utilized to pass on Indian culture and folklore to the current generation and for eons to come.

The oldest Indian artworks were rock drawings, such as petroglyphs discovered in prehistoric Bhimbetka rock shelters, which might be 10,000 years old.

This Indian art genre varies across the nation, from Mithila paintings in the north to Tanjore paintings in the south, Pattachitra in the east, and Warli in the west.

Madhubani, one of India's most prominent art styles, started in the kingdom of Janak, which is now modern-day Bihar.

These paintings portray gods, plants, and animals.

Warli, one of India's oldest art traditions, depicts many daily activities using basic geometrical patterns.

But the question is, what do all of these things have in common? What is it about their work that makes so many people connect with it?
The answer is color, color to portray the essence of a comforting hug or perhaps the disarray in one's head.

Madhubani painting

There are around ten folk art genres, ranging from Madhubani to Kalamkari.

Around 40,000 years ago, the fundamental color palettes were developed by combining earth, animal fat, and burnt charcoal.

Because red is the color of powerful affection, it stands out as the backdrop of the Warli painting.

Showing things on a red canvas represents the potential and courage that we all reside within ourselves; all we need is a blank canvas and a positive mindset to fill it with our ambitions and desires.

Madhubani paintings mainly represent people and their interactions with the environment, as well as scenes and deities from ancient epics.

Known for its depiction of gods, it connects us with a divine creator that will guide us to our destination through the colors of life, such as red for strong devotion, grey lights of disquisition, caliginous black of the end of the night, or the bright yellow sunrise in the bedazzling blue welkin.


Krishna's painting

The subtleties and richness of these diverse and vibrant art forms are being practiced in many areas of the country and throughout the world, influencing numerous contemporary art forms.

Indian folk art's creative resonances are still alive and flourishing, bringing people from all across India together to celebrate their cultural uniqueness.

While color emotes the essence of the artwork, our senses are the ones to take in to understand the unabated unison of every color in the painting.


Companies nowadays employ color psychology to attract customers. This method is being applied in one form or another, with yellow representing safety and red representing a powerful statement.

But this is not a new phenomenon; throughout folk art, we have seen artists using not only colors but also our brains to promote their ideas.

In a society filled with varied ideologies and views, everyone is only attempting to defend their way of thinking.


In a society filled with varied ideologies and views, everyone is only attempting to defend their way of thinking.

Through the medium of art, color creates a sense of unity of purpose and oneness.
Breaking the bonds of illusion that we humans built out of weakness has no chance in the face of vivid artworks imprinted on our souls for the rest of our lives.

Author: Anurag Ghosh

Editor: Akash R. Ekka

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