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Mandana Paintings

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Shop Fish in Mandana by Vidya Soni

Fish in Mandana by Vidya Soni

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Vidya Soni blue-tick

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Shop Radiant Illumination: Mandana Artwork by Vidya Soni
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Shop Illuminating Allure: Mandana Artwork by Vidya Soni
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Shop Whispers of Tradition: Mandana Artwork by Vidya Soni
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About Mandana

Mandana Mandana art is a traditional form of tribal art, mainly practiced by the Meena community in the state of Rajasthan. The word Mandana literally means to ‘put down’ or ‘decorate’ and extends to an art form often used to ornament the mud house, walls, or chulhas within the tribe, serving both decorative and ritualistic purposes.

History and Legend

The exact historical timeline of Mandana art is uncertain, however, it is believed to be as old as the Meena community itself, which has inhabited the region for thousands of years. Traditionally the household women used this art form to adorn their homes, especially during festivals and auspicious occasions such as Diwali, Holi, Govardhan puja, marriage, and childbirth. It was considered the symbol of auspiciousness and put to ward off the evil.

Technique and Details

Mandana art is created using simple materials like chalk, clay, or natural pigments. Traditionally, the ground is prepared first with a mixture of cow dung and rati (a local clay). Women use their fingers, sticks, or small rudimentary brushes to create designs using lime or chalk powder. The color palette is typical with white against a backdrop of earthen colors like red or brown.

The designs are often large-scale with motifs generally inspired by nature like trees, animals, birds, and traditional symbols such as the swastika, which represents good fortune and prosperity. The design may show Ganesha, peacocks, women at work, tigers, floral motifs, etc. 

FAQs

Regardless of written records being absent, the origin of Mandana paintings dates back to the Vedic age, 1500 to 500 BCE. This theory’s relevance is the similarities between the designs in Mandana art and the designs found on the Vastu purusha mandalas. Vastu purusha mandalas are altars of Vedic pujas and the architecture of ancient Vedic temples.
The cultural deities, altars of Vedic yajna, plants, animals, and birds that are considered auspicious, mostly peacocks are the most sought-after designs that are found in these paintings.
The making of Mandana paintings is an art in itself. It inculcates the traditions and cultures of its people into a simple, yet attractive painting. The clay and the mixture of water and cow dung mark the beginning of the process as it plasters the traditional pattern of the floor. The brush made of twigs, cotton and a small portion of squirrel hair are the painting tools. The colors used are red and white, as these are the only ones easily available in abundance in the area. Brick and chalk are the sources of red and white colors.
Earlier, it used camel or wild ass dung and clay, but later the evolutionists used the husk of bajra as an alternative. Today the artists have shifted to using newspapers to avoid the pungent smell as well as to keep the termites away. The characteristic white colour of the Lippan kaam was earlier made using white clay or white sand from the Kutch. Today however, most artists use synthetic white paint.

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