Cheriyal art of Warangal
Glimpses of Indian History
Cheriyal, a small village 85 Km away from Warangal, 100 Km away from Hyderabad is birthplace of a beautiful style of traditional painting that can transform the walls of any home!
This style has a little resemblance with Madhubani and Rajasthani painting and one can see a slight resemblance with Pat paintings of Bengal but it has its own stories to tell! It not only paints the stories from mythology and history, it paints stories of the village barber, or the fisherman! Their ranges vary from heaven to earth!
Unfortunately this 15th century art is threatened like so many of Indian traditional arts and crafts, because it desperately needs people who will digitize it.
The artists behind these amazing works are called Nakash, they have been doing this for generations, their materials are purely organic! They gather their painting materials from household or nature.
Blue from Indigo, black from lamp soot mixed with thirumany tree gum, white from crushed ground sea shells, lemon yellow from a particular stone, red from tamarind seeds, brown from geru and so on! The major colours are first made and from these others are mixed, like most painters do! These are then used to paint the story on a roll of cloth, ideally 3 ft. in height and length depends on the size of the story.
The traditional style is vertical, that is the stories are in panels, like comic book pages, no. of panels again depend on the size of the story.
These are used as companion of story-tellers, as the story-teller tells the story, he shows the specific panel to the audience.
The making of these canvases is a laborious process, the cotton cloth is treated with a mixture of starch (rice), white mud, a paste of boiled tamarind seeds and gum water. Every coating is completely dried before applying the next, once ready the artists directly sketch the outlines on the canvas using a brush.
They also make dolls and masks with coconut shells, coated with wood powder, tamarind paste and gum.
The good news is the government is helping these artists, since 1978 The crafts council of India, the world Telugu Federation and Jagdish Mittal have worked towards preserving Cheriyal scroll work.
Source: An article from the newspaper Hindu
Also check out: http://www.goheritagerun.com/focus-dying-cheriyal-art-warangal
Article from Bhadra, August Agnijaat
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