Chitrakathi

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Chitrakathi's description is found in someshwaras Manasullhas Thereby one can imagine the primitiveness of this art. In tribals life there is a long-standing tradition of chitrakathi's paintings. Wall paintings of Saora, Gaund, Pradhan are extremely popular in India and abroad. Warli community's wall paintings too received wide publicity, which are known for its depiction of human figures and other nature images in shadow form. In Sindhudurg Thakar Community is keeping this priceless treasure of traditional art alive.

In this form of painting 15" x 12" inches plain paper is used. Page is then filled with pictures painted in unique style. Colors used in paintings are a nature's gift to this art from such as Geru, Red earth and green color prepared from leaves.

Story telling is done in a distinctive style. These stories are from epics of Mahabharata and Ramayana from set of pictures storyteller displays each pictures and tells the episode it illustrates. The stories are all in poetry and total number of pictures still existing is about 4000 No. Tribal artists have added new pictures in past 60 years.

Ganesh Festival marks the beginning of chitrakathi. First picture displayed is of Lord Ganesha, besides leaf of prosperity thereafter leaf of Saraswati (Goddess of knowledge)

Thakar artists use the term "Pothi" to set of pictures which contains 30 to 50 pages arranged in chronological order. These pages are unbound like pages of Ramayana and Mahabharata previously one artist used to keep 40 to 50 Pothis but today fortunately 15 to 20 Pothis are in good condition. Some pothis date back to 300 years whereas some 50 to 60 years old. The art of story telling may become extinct in less than a decade and half unless effective steps are taken by the government to preserve it.

Shadow Play :

This ancient art is popularly known as 'Chandyachaya Bahoolya' in Marathi. The art is in existence over since the hunting stage of mankind. Tribals living in different parts of India has successfully preserved a continued this art over the years.

In shadow play pictures carved in leather are held between a screen and the lamp to cast the shadow on the screen while artist narrates the story. Artist is a nayak (the leader person). He makes the pictures dance on the stage, which is prepared, similar to the dayati program. This aesthetic looking stage is a rotating house covered with black cloth over the erected frame on its three sides while front one is a white screen.

In order to perform the show 'Nayak' sits inside the frame but he is no visible to the audience. He begins his show by blowing couch shell thus signaling audience of character's arrival. The mates of the artist who sit outside the frame provide the tune of music by using the musical instruments like Dholki (a small drum), Tabla and unique instrument called Vat Vadya, which is known for producing hauntingly melodious note.

Facinating presentation of this art spellbound the audience characters are visible on the screen one after the other, being their size enlarged and reduced. Moving the picture forward and back ward from the lamp according to the role of the character is the skill of the nayak sitting inside the frame. The leader also sings hymns along with the companions and milkmaids.