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Kurmi Art: The art form of the tribal Hindus of Jharkhand

Updated: Jul 15, 2022

"Tribal Art" is one of those words that has hurt art theorists.

According to people, the value of tribal art has always been meaningless for art lovers.

No other word, however, has had such a profound impact on our collective awareness and simultaneously being more capable of expressing the diverse artistic traditions of indigenous peoples across the world.

Indian tribal art, which remains unknown to many even now, is a combination of unique artwork and original ideas.

Kurmi Art

Oraon, Prajapati, Teli, Ganju, and Kurmi are just a few of the numerous local tribes whose art has been adapted in this popular style.

The latter tribe tends to develop a form of art that is closely related to prehistoric iconography and style.

Kurmi is a semi-Hinduized tribal tribe that practices householder worship and lives in densely forested areas.

Oraon, Prajapati, Teli, Ganju, and Kurmi

There are two significant and equally distinct manifestations in Naki art, and both of those forms have their source from the rock art of the region.

One form is a comb-cut sgraffito style in black and white that is found mainly in the Jorakath complex of villages in South Hazaribagh, and the other is a painted form that is part of the Bhelwara complex of villages, which is part of East Hazaribagh.

Hazaribagh has established itself as a prosperous archaeological area. Evidence of human habitation here can be traced back to the Lower Palaeolithic, with many examples of Middle and Upper Palaeolithic stone tools. A vibrant Mesolithic phase is also present that has glimpses of finely tooled Vindhya microliths, painted shelters, Neolithic axes, and decorated pottery can also be found here.

comb-cut sgraffito style

Kurmi women of Bhelwara province, 45 km east of the district headquarters, the town 'Hazaribagh' and 80 km northeast of the nearest rock art site at Isco is the site of the most prolific and stylistically distinct art related to the Sohrai festival.

There are depictions of striped and spotted cattle and other animals such as elephants and a horned deity standing on the back of a bull, also known as the life form.

Jeevan Rupi Pe or the Pea of Life is a symbol of agriculture and nature. The 'Pe of Life' in this area of Hazaribagh and the unique depiction of wheeled animals have also been included in Isco.

Since 1994, INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) has been working to promote Kurmi and Sohrai art of Bhelwara, perhaps one of the oldest arts in India.

Kurmi and Sohrai art of Bhelwara,

From June to September the villages are washed away by heavy rains, and all the paintings are swept away as they are painted only with natural yellow and red clay ocher, white with kaolin, and black with manganese.

Red and yellow ocher are dug in the fields, and black and white soil is found near the ranges behind the village.

The designs are painted after the monsoon ends, as the crop is harvested during October-November. It is a wonderful season in the villages, and a quiet calm prevails.

'Pe of Life'

Forgetting Kurmi and all other unknown and forgotten tribal art will be a blow to our culture and we have to make our new generation aware of these wonderful arts.

Author: Akash Rupam Ekka

Editor: rachita Biswa


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1 Comment

Yogi India
Yogi India
Sep 07, 2023

it's really nice blog, Thank U for sharing.

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