Cultural Art Of Jharkhand


Folk Paintings or Paitkar or SCROLL PAINTING

These are one of the oldest tribal paintings in India and due to their appearance they are also called scroll paintings. Artisans from the Paitkar community use natural colour and vermillion to paint on soiled or used papers. The hair of a goat or the help of a needle is taken to apply the colour. The essence of these paintings is found in the Garuda Purana. Rapidly extincting community of folk painters of the state known as ?Paitkar‘ make scroll painting. Mainly they illustrate the primitive concept of “life after death”.

Jadopatia Paintings

These are generally practised by the Santhals in which the artisans make scrolls called Jado or Jadopatia and are drawn with natural inks and colours. They are used as visual aids in storytelling and are said to have magical and healing powers. They depict scenes of afterlife and the Santhal belief of tiger God etc.

Sohrai Art

This is generally practiced by the women of farming communities and is a rural art form called Sohrai. They are mural paintings depicting the harvest festival in autumn and are considered to bring good luck. They are painted with red, black, white and yellow earth and large images are painted on the walls with twigs and thin sticks depicting pictures of animals like bulls, horses, wild animals and horned deities.

Kohver Art

This is also practised by the women of the farming community depicting the marriage season. They are generally carried out in the walls of the bridal chamber and the walls of the wedding house. Designs are cut with  fingers exposing black patterns on white or with bits of combs. Over an undercoat of black earth a layer of wet Dudhi mitti or cream coloured earth is painted. This technique of comb cutting is similar to the‘ Sgraffito‘ technique of Greece and the incised pottery technique found in Iran and the Indus valley. These paintings are considered to bring good luck.

dhokra art

It is a metal craft or brass work done by the Malhore caste and the artisans make use of the ? lost wax technique‘ by using resin, wax and firewood from the forests and clay from the riverbed and with the help of a firing oven in a hole dug in the ground they craft their artwork.


Ganju Art

This art is drawn in large murals with images of plants, birds and animals and sometimes endangered animals are depicted in the pictures in story tradition form.

Rana, Teli and Prajapati Art

This art is practised by the three sub castes using filigree work with plant and animal fertility forms using Pashupathi (Lord Shiva) representing the God of Animals and colourful floral motifs.

Kurmi Art

Lord Shiva or Pashupathi on the back of a bull is the horned deity depicted here and glyptic art is used to represent plants on the floors and walls of the Kurmi tribe. A wooden compass is used to etch the segmented lotus and drawings are scratched on the walls with nails.

kurmi art

Mundas Art

Plant forms of deities and unique motifs like the rainbow snake are painted on the wet, soft earth using fingers and the mud collected from rock art sites is lavender gray along with ochre mud.

Turi art

Natural earthy colours of floral and jungle based motifs are painted on the walls of the homes.

Birhor and Bhuiya Art

These depict mandalas or authentic graphic forms with stars, crescents, rectangles, concentric circles etc drawn with fingers.

Ghatwal art

They depict paintings of animals along with their dwellings in the forest.


The mask made of Papier machei in Singhbhum has its own significance. Paper machei of Kashmir is famous for house wares and decorative items with delicate painting and papier machei of Madras is well known for large size sculpted images. The papier machei of Saraikela and Charinda is popular for the mask for Chhou Dance. The methods and materials are separate from each other.


The Jharkhand region was also known as Jungle Mahal because of its dense forest which is inherent. The forest is rich with quality wood and the wood is used for producing the equipment required in housing, farming, fishing etc. for survival. The artisans of some villages went a step ahead and have explored creativity as well in their art, like beautifully decorative door panels, toys, boxes, and other household  articles. Chhuthar, the carpenter community is engaged in this trade. Others are also skilled in this trade.

wooden work


The bamboo found in this thick forest is of a special quality. These bamboos are thin but strong and flexible. The artisan of Jharkhand use these bamboos in different artifacts like, basket, hauting & fishing equipments. Besides the Mahlis, Kharia‘s in some villages have taken this trade for their survival. Particularly, the fishing cage made by the Kharias are excellent.


Broken pieces of potteries are found in the bank of Subernarekha in Dulmi are of good quality with design and painting on it, reveals its trend.


The community surviving in jungle by fishing and hunting has a high quality of weaving skill, eg. dress materials and nets for hunting and fishing are very intricate with fascinating patterns. Still these weavers, called Tanti, make typically designed dress for Santhal.


Tribals are very fond of ornaments all over the world. So the tribal of this area inherently use various types of ornaments; like the ornaments made of bead, precious stones metals like gold and silver. Design is very simple like their art. Moal a rounded pipe of silver on feed, flats waste girt, spiral silver wires on wrist and arm, wide

variety of necklace, ear ring etc


In the area weapon art is not much conventional but very common and similar to the primitive people. The black smiths produce all required tools and weapons for griculture and safety.



The people of this area are totemic so they use several ritualistic offerings like clay made horse, elephants etc. to pacity their village gods and goddesses.


Even a few years back the tradition of stone carving was alive. Some families who were well skilled are not showing up any more, only few artisans are seen in the state.


Besides agricultural implements, hunting tools and weapons are the product by the blacksmith. The Malhar and Thentri communities are expertise in metal casting, mainly producing house wares. Malhar are nomadic but the Thentris are settle amidst the tribes in the state.

Other specific folk art forms are as follows:-

body painting (tatoo),

stone cutting,

bull painting (during Bandna)

folk painting fresco,

sculpting horse, elephant etc. are used for the ritual purpose.

Also they used to craft some totemic images in the wood.

Decoration of wall is very common art.

The methods and materials used are traditional and handed down in the families, gene ration after generation and still persist with little alteration. It is unsophisticated of even rough hewn, often with bold colours. The quality of freshness, spontaneity, sincerity and simplicity of their art are appreciable. The type of decorative designs has characteristic of new Stone Age or Neolithic. It is quite clear through study of primitive art that there are some principles of form and decoration which are universal. The patterns become very schematic and are more geometrical.

jharkhand art

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