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Deowal Chitra and Alpana

Domain:Traditional craftsmanship

State: West Bengal


Deoal Chitra (Drawing on wall) and Alapana (Drawing on floor) are a part of visual folk art of Santhals. The Santhals, are the largest tribe in West Bengal. Although they reside in several districts of West Bengal, Purulia District and Paschim Mednipur district are one of the major areas where Santhals reside. The primary occupation of Santhals is daily agricultural and manual labour. Santhal religion worships Marang Buru or Bonga as supreme deity. The art of tribal paintings is transmitted from generation to generation, and is constantly recreated by communities and groups, in reponse to their environment and their history. It is mostly women who engage in producing these art forms. They reflect simplicity, honesty and a quiet vigour. Traditional motifs, such as the lotus, the sun, the tree-of-life, flowery creepers, fish, elephants etc. are seen in these paintings. The deowal chitra is executed with natural pigments on two main portions of the hut; the pinda or the plinth and the kanth or wall above the plinth. Alpana is executed by dipping a finger in rice powder paste and by drawing fluid, rhythmic lines, mostly for ritualistic purposes.