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Etymology: Saura art is named after the tribal community that practises it.

Origin: Saura paintings originate from Odisha, the mountainous region of Eastern India. These paintings are made by the Saura tribe, who are inhabitants of this region.

Location: These paintings are found in the southern Odisha districts of Rayagada, Ganjam, Gajapati, and Koraput. 

Relevance: Saura paintings are a mural practice that is a form of documentation of their daily activities, religious storytelling, and local folklore. These are all important factors of their socio-cultural ethos.


Significance: The Saura tribes reside mainly on the banks of rivers or around a water body since they are occupationally farmers, harvesters, and fishers. Their location also plays a factor in the materials they use and their day-to-day activities influence the theme of their paintings.

Culture and Societies: The Kudangs, who are the priestly class among the Sauras are the ones who make these paintings. Since they had the expertise to explain the symbolic meaning behind the paintings, they were appointed as the artisans to create Saura paintings.

Religious significance: These paintings were originally painted to appease the Gods and ancestors, hence, they are an important part of their religious ceremonies. While making these paintings a specific set of prayers are recited simultaneously. 

Understanding the Art

Saura art
(Saura art, Saora paintings travel from tribal homes to living rooms overseas, 25/03/18,

Style: These paintings follow a monochromatic colour scheme, although colours like chrome, yellow, red, ultramarine blue and black are also used frequently. The figures they paint are very delicate with geometric anatomy. These paintings observe intricate designs and patterns, and they are complex compositions with very little negative spacing.

Central motifs: The subjects of Saura paintings entail tribal folklore, cults, and myths. Motifs such as people, horses, elephants, the sun, the moon, and the tree of life are painted frequently.

new outlook

Saura designs have come a long way from being just wall paintings, they are now featured in apparel designs, home decor items, and handloom fabrics too.

Saura blogs