Folk Designs from India
Folk Designs from India
India, an enormous country and home to nearly one billion people, harbours a wide variety of ornamental and decorative styles. However, despite this vastness and diversity, India’s cultural traditions demonstrate some distinct common factors, notably the tendency to adorn and beautify. The desire to decorate seems to be embedded within the country’s society.
This applies in particular to personal appearance and to the home and its immediate surroundings. Examples of this are to be found in the intricate textile designs presented here, which are either meant for clothing or for home furnishing, as well as in the stunning wall and floor painting designs.
Often, Indian design has a religious or symbolic meaning, for instance, the floor paintings which are made in front of the entrances to many Indian homes, are meant to guard against evil forces, and to stimulate the good fortune and health of the inhabitants.
On page 288 a short bibliography is given for readers in search of further information on Indian art and design. However, as is the case with all Pepin Press Design Books, Folk Designs from India, is meant to provide a large selection of images, all in single-color line drawings, which serve to display designs in their purest form. For all designs in this book, the state of origin is specified. See the map on page 3 for the location of these states. Furthermore, the captions may contain some unfamiliar terms, which are explained here.
Alpana Ritual floor painting symbolizing auspiciousness from the Himalayas; done in rice flour or chalk.
Banjara Nomadic ethnic community, originating from Rajastan, and now living all over India.
Chittankan Tribal painting.
Ganesha Elephant-headed Hindu god; god of wisdom and remover of obstacles. Jain Ancient Indian religion.
Jamaakalam Cotton carpet from South India with designs on all sides and one central motif.
Kalamkari Cotton textile with a painted or printed design.
Kantha Simple type of embroidery in contrasting colors, mostly with animal and foliage designs.
Kashidakari Islamic embroidery, usually with a dense background pattern. Kasuti Traditional embroidery from Karnataka.
Kolam Tamil word for floor painting, made by carefully applying a mixture of colored rice flour and water, water colors, or fine white powder in the desired pattern; auspicious symbol and object of beauty.
Krishna Hindu god; associated with consciousness and truth.
Madhubani Region in north Bihar known for its painting tradition.
Natraj The Lord of Dance; personifies the power of the universe.
Phulkari Lit. ‘flower work’; type of Punjabi embroidery.
Rabari Nomadic ethnic community, mostly living in Rajasthan and Gujarat. Radha Hindu goddess; the beloved of Krishna.
Rangoli Hindi word for kolam used in south and central India.
Shantiniketan Abode of peace and university, established by Ravindranath Tagore.
Toran Front door decoration; a sign of welcome.
Warli Small tribal group, living in the coastal plain of northern Maharashtra.