Coming From The Saura Tribes, Here’s Why This Lesser-Known Mural Art From Odisha Needs Highlight

by Vaishalee Kalvankar
Coming From The Saura Tribes, Here’s Why This Lesser-Known Mural Art From Odisha Needs Highlight

People who are not into art, paintings, or related areas might not be able to distinguish between two similar-looking paintings. Similar is the case when people look at Saura art from Odisha and Warli art from Maharashtra. Comparatively, Warli art is known by more people than Saura art, which is made by Saura tribes. Here’s why this lesser-known mural art from Odisha deserves all the attention. 

Saura Art By The Saura Tribe In Odisha

The fascinating Saura art has documented the history of the tribe for hundreds of years. It consists of simple forms and figures that combine to create complex narratives in a limited palette of colors. 

Saura art is a tribal art style from eastern India. It began as ritualistic paintings on the walls of village dwellings and developed into one of India’s most exquisite art forms. Located in the southern region of Odisha, the Sauras are among the oldest tribes in India. 

The Sauras are renowned for their unique tribal culture and artistic creations, and their past is referenced in both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. A tribe with strong ties to the natural world, their artwork initially appears to be a straightforward representation of everyday life. 

However, the Saura people preserve their traditions and culture through their interpretation of the richly symbolic and meaningful artwork of the Sauras. The art of the Sauras, whose language lacks a script, serves as a record of their religious practices, history, and philosophy. 

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Difference Between Warli And Saura

Traditionally, Saura art is created using delicate bamboo brushes and natural dyes derived from rice, white stone, and flower and leaf extracts on the red or brown clay walls of the peasants’ homes. The paintings are typically created on significant occasions like harvest, childbirth, marriage, etc., and are dedicated to the Sauras deity known as Idital.

Saura initially appears to be the exact replica of Warli, another Indian tribal art form that is possibly more well-known. Compared to the Warli figures, which show the human form as two sharp triangles linked at the apex, the Saura figures are less angular. 

In addition to being bigger and longer than those found in Warli art, Saura forms lack any anatomical distinction between male and female morphology. The “fishnet” method used to create each piece of Saura art is another distinctive feature.

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Fascinating Indian Tribal Art

Saura art has changed significantly in the twenty-first century. It started out as murals on mud walls and is now found everywhere, even on notebook covers and sarees. In recent years, it has also gained decorative importance. 

Saura painters have started working with pen and ink on paper and canvas in addition to acrylics. A noteworthy progression in Saura painting is the deft use of contemporary elements in the imagery and subjects portrayed. This pattern can be seen in numerous Indian tribal art forms.

In addition to being stunning to look at, Saura art is fascinating because it represents a tribe’s honest and distinctive manner of narrating its own story. It is one of the most fascinating tribal art forms in India and is a priceless addition to the country’s cultural variety.

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Cover Image Courtesy: @subratkar/X (formerly Twitter)

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