Jharkhand Observer.com
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Art, Craft and Livings

Jharkhand is full of surprises. Archeaologists have unearthed pre-Harappan pottery, and pre-historic cave paintings and rock-art, that hints at ancient, cultured civilizations inhabiting these parts. Who exactly were the original settlers of Jharkhand? We will never truly know. But one look at the intricate woodwork, the pitkar paintings, tribal ornaments, stone carvings, dolls and figurines, masks and baskets, will tell you how deep into time these manifestations of culture go, how the well-spring of creativity continues to recharge the spirit of the tribes and the state itself.

Art historians ascribe the 'oldest cave paintings' in India, the "scroll paintings" to a Jharkhand tribe known as the Shabars, who today live on the edge of extinction. It is an established fact that Stone Age tools discovered in Hazaribagh district and axes and spearheads found in the Chaibasa area, are remnants of a civilization dating back a few thousand years. 10,000 to 30,000 years old rock paintings, paintings in huge caves in the Sati hills and other indicators of ancient, even pre-historic, human settlements are found in profusion.

Among the most delicate, fragile, beautiful ands threatened indigenous traditions of India are for example, the Kohvar and Sohrai paintings, which are sacred, secular and relevant to a woman's world. This is the art practiced exclusively by married women, during weddings and at harvest time, and the skill and the information is handed down to younger females of the clan.

Comb-cut or finger-painted, Kohvar art celebrates marriage, and the wall-painted Sohrai, bumper crops. Elaborate design motifs, animal and plant forms, fertility motifs are abundant and often echo ancient cave art found in the surrounds. The colours used are all natural - neutral earth shades, red oxide from stone, red ochre, kaolin white, manganese black earth etc.. Blue and green are aberrant colours and do not feature prominently.

Jharkhand is known for its wood work, bamboo works, pitkar paintings, tribal ornaments and stone carving. The beautifully carved wood products and bamboo products show the craftsmanship of the people. Lack of promotion and marketing for these products has mostly resulted in extinction of some crafts like paitkar paintings and stone carvings.

Wood Craft: Once a dense forest area, Jharkhand with the abundance of wood, resulted in the use this for creating variety of wood articles for household requirements.

Bamboo: The bamboos found in the Jharkhand forest are thin but flexible and strong. Using these, the artisans of Jharkhand produce different artifacts like basket, haunting and fishing equipment.

The people here are to be much involved into artistic approaches in whatever they work, to name some of the fame arts in this region could be Oraon Bhitichitra, Santhali Bhitichitra and Jado Patiya are the styles of paintings that still exist.

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