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gond art


Etymology: The term ‘Gond’ comes from the Dravidian expression ‘Kond’, which translates to green mountains and, in Gondi, ‘Geda’ means forest. 

Origin: The Gond art originates from diverse and culturally rich regions of Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, with a population of more than 9 million, making the Gond tribe, one of the largest Adivasi groups in India.

Location: Although the roots of Gond originate mainly from Madhya Pradesh, they further branch out to some of the states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh.

Relevance: The Gond community is immensely artistic and has several means of expression, like poetry, Gond literature or folklore, paintings of old gods and kings, performance art, body tattooing, pottery, basket making, and floor paint.


Significance: Since Gonds originate from the densely forested area of Madhya Pradesh, their folklore and art forms have themes and motifs entailing animals; their ritualistic and spiritual beliefs and their faith is symbiotic with their artistic expressions in their paintings.

Culture and Societies: Gonds, like other tribals, are animists and ascribe soul to nature’s phenomena; they worship plants, animals, birds, earth, and mountains and also believe that there are spirits or supernatural powers guarding their village and tribe.

Religious significance: Common Hindu festivals are celebrated by all groups of Gonds, like Dussehra, Holi, and Diwali; the Gonds from Nagpur (Maharashtra) celebrate festivities of Pola, Tilsankrant, Jivti, Akhadi, Chaitra, Rakshabandhan, and Nagpanchami.

Understanding the Art

Style:  This art form has seen a drastic change in the expression of themes, Gond art saw a shift from primitive abstract geometrical dots to folklore and the most contemporary folk art style. Jangarh Singh Shyam is the one who revived this art form.

Central Motifs The Gond women pioneered the way for Gond art by crafting motifs on their house walls and floors; they started by creating four-dimensional geometric decorations on the walls of their houses which are natively known as ‘chowka’ and floor paintings called ‘digna’. These patterns resemble the tattoos on the bodies of Gond women.

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