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mandana painting

Background

Etymology: The word ‘Mandana’ is derived from the word ‘mandan’  which means decoration in their regional language. Hence, Mandana means to draw.

Origin: This is one of the oldest forms of tribal art, which is practised in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by the Meena community. 

Location: Since the Meena community are the predominant settlers in Rajasthan, they make up about 56.34% of the overall population of Rajasthan. This is the reason that they inhabit more of the regions in Rajasthan than Madhya Pradesh, they are spread out in the districts of Jaipur, Alwar, Bharatpur, Sawai Madhopur, Tonk, Hadoti, and Jhalawar. 

Relevane: The Meenas believe that Mandana paintings protect their homes from evil, illnesses, and bad luck. 

 

History

Significance: The core beliefs of drawing Mandana Paintings and art on the walls and floors are to welcome divinity into the house and keep away from evil forces. In the language of Gujjar Bhakha from which the Marwari language originated, the word Mandana translates to ‘to draw.’

Culture and Societies: These paintings are exclusively painted by women, and are made on auspicious occasions of festivals and marriages. This is a transgenerational art form which is exclusively woman-centric.

Religious significance: Since a larger part of the Meena community resided in Rajasthan, their beliefs, socio-cultural practices, and motifs were greatly influenced by Hindu culture and their deities

Understanding the Art

Style: These are paintings that have motifs ranging from deities to floral themes and from nature-related motifs to anthropomorphic characters. These are well-centred and balanced pieces that are perfectly symmetrical and are drawn free-hand using plotting points. 

Central motifs: Motifs of Lord Ganesha, women doing daily chores, birds, animals such as peacocks and tigers, and floral motifs are some of the popular ones. Apart from religious and natural elements, the Meena women also indulge in creating geometric, geomorphic, zoomorphic, and anthropomorphic designs as well.

(Mandana art, Mandana Painting in India, 24/02/11, Indigenous Jesus: Mandana Painting in India)

new outlook

Mandana paintings are on the decline for various factors all concerning the shift from a tribal to a contemporary lifestyle. The main reason is that these were drawn on mud houses with clay but since most houses are now made of cement and clay is becoming unavailable, it is difficult to traditionally revive this art form.

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