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Clay sculptures for worship in eastern odisha (an indigenous sacred craftsmanship in clay)

Author: 
Dr. Umesh Chandra Nayak
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Folk art is a higher form of culture in comparison to primitive art. The needs and peculiar problems of the village people's life find an expression in folk art. While satisfying the needs of the people, folk art attains a certain aesthetic level. Folk art is divided into two classes, Viz. hand-made figures and moulded figures. The hand-made type is of a primitive pattern. Heads, eyes, eye-brows, lips etc of the figures are shown, but the legs are left out. In the moulded type a full human or animal figure is fashioned. Folk art although dwindling, is still a living reality in Odisha. Great skill is displayed in the making of dolls, toys, puppets, carvings on soapstone, wooden vessels, gate doorways, chests, palanquins, musical instruments, bridal costumes etc. Temple walls and walls of certain private houses are still painted. Drawing on canvas is still a practice in Odisha. Odisha's 'Patachitras' are famous in India and outside. Bowers of the pith flowers with figures of charming women are made on the occasion of 'Jhulana' (swinging festival of Radha and Krishna) on the full moon day of Shravana. Brass fishes, horn toys, filigree ornaments, a painted 'Farua' (a temple-like wooden pot in which Vermilion is kept), textile and soapstone work and 'ganjapa' (traditional play card) of Odisha still draw wide attention. Palm leaf as a writing material is now out of use except on some ceremonial occasion. Some palm leaf manuscripts are carefully preserved in the museum at Bhubaneswar as specimens of traditional drawings and paintings. Odisha has witnessed ceaseless human endeavour in the field of art, craft, sculpture and temple building activities for about 2500 years during her recorded history. Endowed with nature’s beauty and bounty, Odisha boasts of a rich cultural heritage and tradition of music, dance, dramatics, art & crafts of many splendored varieties and forms; which elegantly emanate from its magnificent monuments, ancient caves, and rock-cut sculptures and innumerable temples found still intact with all its pristine glory and grandeur. This holy land with a hoary past, offers the quintessence of the multifaceted cultural profiles of Indian panorama. Art in all its myriad forms is so deeply ingrained in this state that the routine chores of the folk styles take sublime aesthetic expression of magnificent diction in intangible performing art idioms.

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