The to depict local folklore which dates back to

The cultural
heritage of India is enriched by the myriad arts, crafts and rituals that
abound from every region, colouring the lifestyles of people who have lived on
this land for centuries, often moulding exiting practices with their own
novelties, adding uniqueness and regional colour. Art and paintings make up an
integral part of this legacy, existing in diversity and local flavours, made
using distinctive materials and practices that render each art form notable and
worthy of praise by art enthusiasts and collectors across the globe. However,
within this splendour lie certain styles of painting that have been deemed
obsolete or are sliding into extinction for lack of popularity and means,
creating a void in the rich artistic culture that India boasts of, and this is
a matter of concern that needs amends, rapidly and efficiently.

Manjusha Paintings

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Born in the 7th
century in the Anga Kingdom, presently the Bhagalpur region in the State of
Bihar, this is a rare style of painting that is depicted in the form of a
series, with each canvas portraying a specific scene in sequence, quite like a
scroll painting, often narrating folk tales of historical and cultural
relevance. It was traditionally associated with the Bishahari festival,
dedicated to the local snake God, and while it majorly represented the
Bihual-Bishari folklore, it also included a wide range of motifs such as the
dieties Shiva and Hanuman, the sun, the moon, birds, flowers, etc; the borders
of these paintings were of various styles like Belpatr, Lehariya, Triangle,
Mokha and patterns of snakes. The culturally vibrant and historically
significant art form flourished in the colonial period, but started waning in
magnitude by the 20th century, currently facing the threat of
obsolescence if not properly restored.

Mithila Paintings

This art is
practised exclusively by the women and girls of the Mithila region, where this
was historically originated, and the paintings are characterised by vibrant
colours, which are used to depict local folklore which dates back to the
marriage of Rama and Sita, along with other mythological events, social
activities and festivities, drawn in subtle geometric patterns. These paintings
were generally made on the mud walls of houses in the community, but could also
be made on cloth, handmade paper and canvas, and were using the faint colour of
cow dung as the base and natural colours created from fruits, flowers, leaves
and roots, to give a natural, yet dynamic, look. The different styles include
Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna and Kohbar, made by the females from various
caste as a way to ensure self-independence; however, since the art is survived
only by a single village, Mithila has reached a status of extinction, and
requires urgent steps for survival to continue the livelihood of women.

Tikuli Paintings

This art form
dates back 800 years and closely linked with feminine traditions, as it is
supposed to symbolise the essence of the Bindi, the auspicious object worn by
women on their foreheads, signifying their intellectual capacity and a symbol
for empowerment. The style was born in Patna, where its popularity attracted
traders to deal in these art works, especially during the Mughal reign, as the
rulers were fond of patronising spectacular art. Tikuli paintings are intricate
pieces and require skill and work- they are made using gold foil, thwarts and
gems on a glass base that give it the delicate, yet shiny appeal- and are hence
highly priced; while there is no denying the beauty of a Tikuli painting, this
style of art started losing admirers with the withdrawal of the Mughal Empire
and the establishment of the Colonial rulers, and is now rapidly being replaced
by industrialised products.

Davli Paintings

Davli paintings,
also called Mlaveli vayana, refer to a scroll painting tradition of Kerala,
where art is often closely intertwined with folk narration that evokes a rich
culture that distinguishes the region, while adding to the artistic charm of
India. The artists, known as Mlaveli pandaram, depict two or three episodes of
the local Shiva myths on a single piece of canvas, creating several pieces to
represent the entire epic; traditionally, these artists carried the paintings
from door to door in the villages in Ernakulam and Kottayam districts to narrate
the epics to the community while unravelling their work like scrolls to
generate interest and perpetuate the knowledge of myths. While this entire
process possessed immense religious significance, it is now carried out only by
a few artisans in the Aluva area of the district of Ernakulam, and is proper
steps are not taken, this art might be rendered extinct in the next couple of
years.