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Significance Of Peacock Motif In Indian Art

Peacock as a motif in Indian art

For a long time, Peacock has been a popular motif in art. It is one of the oldest symbols of royalty and power. In India, the Peacock is the national bird and it is the symbol of good fortune and royalty. The Peacock pattern has become popular in Western culture and can be seen in architecture, clothing, furniture, and art. This national bird represents strength and power and its feathers symbolize immortality and immunity to evil. Peacock motifs in Indian art portray wealth and luxury items, similar to, clothing or jewellery. One can find this motif in religious art, such as Hinduism, which represents immortality and resurrection.

Peacock motifs have different meanings in every painting, which is why Rooftop is here to illustrate the significance of the peacock motif in Indian art and culture. 

Image Source: (L) Etsy; (M) Etsy; (R) Google Arts & Culture

The Birth Of The Motif:

As a symbol of beauty, wealth, and pride, the Peacock bird appears in many artistic works. The Peacock motif originated in India over 4,000 years ago and it was the symbol of royalty, and from the 1800s, its use of this peacock motif began to populate Indian nations enormously. In an Egyptian tomb from 3150 BCE, there is an old depiction of a Peacock design. The picture in this ancient piece of art is a huge bird with spread wings.

According to ancient mythology, people believed that the Peacock’s flesh did not decay after fatality, and it signifies eternal life. This specific motif has played an essential role in defining cultures across several countries like India, Far East Asia, Ancient Persia, Greece, and Rome.

Image Source: (L) National Museum, Scotland; (R) Exotic India.

Exploring Peacock Motifs In Art Forms:


Image Source: Etsy

A peacock symbolizes celestial love, knowledge, romance, and prosperity in Madhubani paintings. As one of the richest examples of Indian art and culture, Madhubani paintings are a combination of bright, poppy shades depicting ancient Indian culture. 


In Kalamkari paintings, the Peacock as a motif is responsible for spreading the message of peace, passion, and harmony. Kalamkari is a handprint art with rich natural dyes depicting the iconic events from Ramayana and Mahabharata. 

Image Source: Flickr


Pichwai is an Indian traditional painting originating from Rajasthan, India. The peacock motif in the Pichwai painting essentially represents the importance of the bird in Lord Krishna’s life.
The painting has other intricate details as well that are centred around Shreenathji. the other motifs are trees, mountains, lotuses and cows.

Image Source: (L) Google Arts & Culture; (R) Artisera

Gond Painting

In Gond paintings, the peacock motif is an example of the harmony that nature provides us. The dots, fine lines, and fish scales are some of the primary features of these paintings. 

Image Source: (L) MeMeraki; (R) Etsy

The Global Recognition

Many designers have used peacocks as a motif to design their products. This pattern is still popular for more than 200 years and can be seen in many things. However, in the late 19th and 20th centuries, America and Europe showed immense interest in Indian arts and crafts. In the mid-20th century, a new trend in America’s art and fashion emerged, and peacock motifs became the characteristics of  Indian arts and crafts. The Peacock motif is a well-recognized image worldwide and has played an essential role in European countries. Chinaware, tablecloths, and curtains, all have created peacock motifs for vintage and cultural touch.

What’s In It For Future

Peacocks’ feathers are so exquisite that people consider them to be symbols of wealth. This is because they can produce such high-quality feathers all year round, thanks to their diet! One of the optimistic sides of modern Indian Art is that people are again ready to go back to ancient times and discover more about traditional Indian culture. The Peacock art is not only limited to sarees but also embedded in jewellery, furniture, showpieces, and even interior walls. For its high level of allure and sophistication, peacock style, feathers, and even the colour palette is getting admiration worldwide. 

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