One of India’s glorious paintings: India is a land that gave birth to various forms of painting. India has its own identity of rich cultural diversity, which is well reflected in the charm of its enchanting folk arts and crafts. Marvelous painting styles are prevalent across various regions, representing the traditions, customs, and beliefs expressed from one generation to another. Most of the Indian painting styles existed as cloth paintings, wall paintings, or murals, and with the passing of time, urban sprawl transformed these art forms onto canvas, paper, etc. Indian painting styles are not just a contemplation of the primaeval lifestyle but a perfect example of artistic expression through simple yet distinct compositions. Indian painting has a very long tradition and history in Indian art, though because of the climatic conditions, very few early examples survive. The earliest Indian paintings were the rock paintings of prehistoric times, such as the petroglyphs found in places like Bhimbetka rock shelters. Some of the Stone Age rock paintings found among the Bhimbetka rock shelters are approximately 10,000 years old. Jharkhand’s two main folk arts are kohbar art and jharkhandi art. Both these paintings depict the development of human civilization. Natural colours are used in both these paintings. This art is more prevalent, mainly in Hazaribagh and Chatra.
There is a rich tradition of Kohbar in many districts of Jharkhand. Possibly, the present-day Kohbar art is a modern form of the age-old cave paintings found in Jharkhand. The Kohbar paintings of Hazaribagh are mainly tribal.
The depictions on clay walls are made by women. The illustrations are very artistic and clear enough to be read easily.
The subjects of Kohbar’s paintings are generally fertility, male-female relations, and witchcraft, which are represented by such symbols of husbands, animals, and birds, and sorcery, which are popular and valid for progeny growth, for example, bamboo, elephant, tortoise, fish, peacock, lotus, or other flowers, etc. Apart from these, various figures of Shiva and human figures are also used. These pictures are painted in full size on the outer or inner walls of the house.
Kohbar painting has been done for centuries in the villages of Jorkath, Isco, Shanreya, Sahaida, Dhetrige, Kharati, Raham, etc. of Hazaribagh district.
Figures are made on it with brown resin, lap (kaolin) and black (manganese) colors. In Kohbar paintings, slight variation has been found according to different tribal groups or sub-castes.