Indian Folk Art Mandana: The Doomed Tradition Needs to be Preserved


If one looks back in their history books one will typically find Rajasthan a princely state with lots and lots of historic forts, mighty kings and of course sand and loaded camels. But this state has precisely some hidden treasures which are more precious than any other ornamental stones.

In terms of creative art and unique culture, Rajasthan stands as the most colorful and breath-taking. The intricate carving and exquisite designs are of beggar’s description. Mandana is the oldest forms of tribal folk art that has survived economically in India till ages. It is done in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh by one of the ancientest tribal communities, the Meenas.

Source – Youtube

In Rajasthan, these valuable paintings are done both in walls and floors whereas in some other states it is traditionally restricted upon the floors only. Mandana is drawn to protect home and hearth, welcome gods into the house and as a mark of festive celebrations. Earlier it was believed that these drawings ward off the malevolent spirits and insulate the house.

These remarkable drawings are traditionally drawn within the house as well as the surrounding it. These developing designs are of perfect symmetry and accuracy. These drawings are untaught rather it is a legacy that transfers from mother to her daughter. Various raw materials are used to make these designs, and the designs consist of beautiful motifs. These motifs have the deepest meaning.


Initially, the base is prepared with cow dung mixed with rati, a local clay, and red ochre. The pictures are drawn onto the wall and flooring using various tools such as brush made up of date twig, a clump of hair and cotton. Lime or chalk powder is used for making the motifs.

Once the motif is designed then it is left for drying. At that point in time, the dried motif is filled with colors. The color scheme of these paintings is very simple and basic, i.e. White and red. These colors are chosen specifically in their natural surroundings. White paint or Khadiya and red paint or geru are made up of brick.

The Mandana paintings design motifs include Peacock, Lord Ganesh, Geometrical shapes, jaali, Vedic yagna, women at work, tigers and floral motifs, etc. These Paintings are also called as Mandala Paintings in most parts of Nepal.

Mandana Painting on Wall – Source

This day Mandana Art has followed a drastic drop in visibility and has rarely of takers among villages, due to a gradual rise in the considerable number of concrete houses. This art form requires clay walls or earth to naturally tend to efficiently absorb the colors. But this art form still holds its rustic charm on the clay walls. This art form bears architectural and scientific significance which needs to be studied and this art needs to be preserved and spread among people who are going outdated.

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