The Tradition for Indian Art

The traditional painting has five distinctive styles: Bharni, Kachni, Tantrik, Godna and Gobar (Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna and Gobar). The first three styles were founded and applied by women from the upper class (brahmanas). The main focus of these styles is religious themes depicting gods and goddesses. The other two styles include aspects of everyday life, as well as divine symbolism (without images of gods and goddesses) and are performed by representatives of lower classes (sudras). You can click here for more.

To create paints use only natural dyes obtained from plants or other natural substances. For black, use charcoal or soot, for white rice flour. Yellow is obtained from turmeric root, blue from dye indigophera (Indigofera tinctoria) , red from hibiscus flowers (kusama / kusam) or red sandalwood, green from leaves. Pictures are painted either with a brush or with sticks, sometimes just with your fingers.

  • Until 1934, Mithil painting was inaccessible to the outside world. Only after the strong earthquake of 1934 that shook the state of Bihar, painting of madhubani became public property. 

During the inspection of the damage to the houses, the British officer Wilm G. Archer was stunned and fascinated by the beauty and uncommonness of the images he found adorning the inner walls of the buildings. As a result of this discovery, the Mithilian fine art ascended to the next stage of its development. During the drought of 1966-68, which led to famine in the region, aiming at popularizing Mithillian painting, as well as helping the needy population, Ms. Pupul Jayakar (later the head of the All-India Crafts Council) recommended to subsidize local craftsman, inviting them to draw their paintings on paper and canvas? Today, Madhubani painting is widely known throughout India, as well as abroad.


Pattacitra is a traditional folk painting of the inhabitants of Orissa. Patta means fabric, chitra means painting. The painting is done on silk or cotton, which is glued to paper. The main theme of the pattachitra is the plots from the Bhagavata Purana and the Gaudiya Vaishnava cult. Local craftsmen, known as chitrakars , adhere to classical traditions, using natural dyes in their work. There is also a variety of pattachitra known as tala pattachitra , i.e. painting on palm leaves.

Bengal Pata Painting 

West Bengal has its own analogue of pattachitra – this is a traditional painting of pata (pata). The painting is performed on cotton, silk or any other fabric. For dyes, only natural material is used. The plots of the paintings can serve as Hindu religious motifs of Vaishnava (vishnuity) sense, as well as stories associated with Buddhism. Also very popular is the natural theme (animals, marine life and plants).

  • Kalamkari (kalamkari) is a special technique of painting or stamping on cotton fabric or silk with organic dyes. This type of art came to the territory of India from Persia in the Middle Ages. Translated from Farsi, Kalam is “a pen, a wand for writing,” and kari means “skill and art”. Kalamkari is divided into two styles: Shrikalahasti style and Machilipatnam style. 


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