Published By: Satavisha

Five Exceptional Traditional Indian Art Forms That Are On The Verge Of Extinction

India is home to various forms of art. Every region offers a distinct style of art. But are some of these traditional Indian art forms facing the threat of extinction?

When it comes to picking a profession to sustain a livelihood, art often takes a backseat, and people lean for more “practical” career options that guarantee a secure and regular source of income. This perception has endangered the skills and artistry of many Indian local artists. Here are five exceptional traditional Indian art forms on the brink of extinction.

Rogan Art - Kutch, Gujarat 

This craft made its way to India nearly 400 years ago from Persia. It is a form of cloth printing that is created using a special type of oil paint. The art form derives its name from the Farsi or Persian word ‘Rogan,’ meaning oil or varnish. The paint used in Rogan art is produced using castor oil, which is boiled until it acquires a honey-like consistency.

Toda Embroidery - Nilgiri Hills, Tamil Nadu 

The Toda tribe of Nilgiri hills is popularly known for their Toda embroidery. Unfortunately, this art form is facing the threat of extinction because, with nearly 2,000 people left in the tribe, they are struggling to preserve their art. These stunning square-shaped embroideries are typically done on garments but can also be found on wallets, pouches, stoles, and bed sheets.

Manjusha Paintings - Bihar 

This style of painting is most likely the only art form in India that depicts a story in series, and each painting has a different story to tell. Manjusha paintings were born in Anga Pradesh (modern Bihar). Earlier, these paintings were created only during the festival of Bishahari (dedicated to worshiping the snake god) in Bhagalpur district, and they prospered during the British reign in India. Sadly, the popularity of Manjusha painting started declining in the mid-20th century, but the government of Bihar is making conscious efforts to restore the art.

Dhokra handicraft - Bastar, Chhattisgarh 

Tribal communities living in the Bastar district of Chhattisgarh specialize in Dhokra handicrafts. This unique wax casting approach has been in India for over 4,000 years. Dhokra items are highly demanded in foreign as well as domestic markets, owing to their enchanting folk motifs, forceful form, and primitive simplicity. But currently, very few tribes are involved in the creation of Dhokra handicrafts, and it is heartbreaking to witness how the 250-year-old legacy is slowly perishing.

Mithila Painting - Mithila, Bihar

This exceptional style of folk painting is practiced by the women residents of Mithila in Bihar. Mithila painting is displayed on cloth, paper, ready-made garments, and movable objects. The Mithila women use natural colors derived from vegetables to paint. This art form is currently created by very few women hailing from just one village in Bihar.

We are truly blessed to be born in a country where the native people practice such diverse and incredible art forms. But it is also unfortunate how the lack of proper preservation and restoration is gradually causing the disappearance of these unique traditional artworks.