Content Research and Conceptualisation by Kaavya Lakshman and Content Written by Kaavya Lakshman and Saumya Sinha

Tikuli art is an unique art form from Bihar, which has a very rich and deep traditional history. The word ‘tikuli’ is the local term for ‘bindi’, which is usually a bright, colorful dot that women wear between their brows. Since olden times, the bindi was created as a symbolic mean to worship intellect and conserve the modesty of women. However, in today’s time, tikuli art serves as a source of empowerment for the women of Bihar.

A red bindi worn by married women signifies good marriage and virtue. It is an important symbol of Indian culture.

A red bindi worn by married women signifies good marriage and virtue. It is an important symbol of Indian culture.

HISTORY

Tikuli art originated in Patna over 800 years ago. It deals with beautifully designed paintings which are manufactured in the local streets of the city. With flourishing sales, Tikuli artform managed to influence traders from across the country to flock to Patna to buy tikuli art in bulk. The Mughals were active patrons of the art form and appreciated its many salient features.

This is a rare specialty of Bihar and no such work is found elsewhere. Since it is very intricate and detailed, it requires a special set of skills. Tikuli art is expensive too, as the value of the art is directly proportional to the refinement of the work. In the picture below, it can be easily seen that even though the figures are small-scaled, the artist has not compromised on the details.

intricate tikuli art

The intricate craftsmanship made tikuli art the sole privilege of the royalty.

With the decline of the Mughal Empire, and the coming of the British Raj, Tikuli art faced a severe blow. The British introduced industrialization, and so, indigenous goods came to be replaced by cheap machine-made goods. Thousands of Tikuli artists were left jobless as machine-made bindis came into the market, and Tikuli art was lost in the chaos.

REVIVAL

Revival of this art form can solely be attributed to two artists.

In 1954, Chitracharya Padmashree Upendra Marathi, single handedly took the initiative to revive this dying art form. He got the idea to portray Tikuli art on glazed hardboard during his stay in Japan, where traditional motifs on colorful hardboard were being commercially sold.

Mr Ashok Kumar Biswas, Tikuli craftsman who almost single handedly revived the dying art form.

Artist, craftsman, and painter Shree Ashok Kumar Biswas took Tikuli art to a whole new level. He, along with his wife Shibani Biswas, not only revived the art but also developed it into a source of livelihood. Tikuli art now serves as an economic beneficiary for over 300 women in Bihar. The noble efforts of the Biswas and the workmanship of these women are nationally and internationally acclaimed. In 2012, he was selected to participate in the Bihar Divas Celebrations organized in Delhi and Jaipur. He was also assigned the task of explaining the subtle art of Tikuli to the visitors of the International Fair held in Seoul.

MAKING OF TIKULI ART

Making Tikuli art is a delicate and tedious process. To simplify it, I have divided it into three steps:

  1. Tikuli artists use hardboard to create paintings. The hardboard is cut into various shapes like circular, rectangular, triangular, or square.
  2. Four-five coats of enamel are applied thereafter on the cut wooden piece. After every coat the wood is rubbed with sandpaper thus giving it a polished surface.
  3. After the final coat of enamel is applied, the design is made with paint. It is also embellished with gold foil and jewels.

Tikuli art also uses Madhubani motifs in its paintings. It exemplifies the art and it is always a wonderful feeling to see two exceptionally brilliant art forms together in one frame.

Beautiful juxtaposition of Tikuli and Madhubani art.

Spring and summer season are the most suitable for making this art as the craft requires dry air at room temperature due to usage of enamel paints. Squirrel or sable hair is used to make the brushes and the size range varies from 0.0-20.

THEMES

Tikuli art as a product is more popular as export, rather than as something of cultural significance. The aim of the products is to showcase Indian culture to the rest of the world. The themes mostly revolve around festivals of Bihar, Indian wedding scenes, and Krishna Leela.

Tikuli art sold as a wall hanging.

 

Costers and wall hangings with beautiful Tikuli art on them are hugely popular exports.


Author: Nithul
Kodugu Family Hockey Festival

Kodugu Family Hockey Festival

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There are many such extraordinarily beautiful and poignant fragments of the lives of the clans of warriors and hunters who once held this land, an evocation of a world almost dissolved by modernity. It is a world of masked and costumed spirit-mediums who prophesy and heal; of ancestors who protect and guide and, the myths and legends of a people who fought bitter battles through the centuries, to preserve the land they loved. Beneath the neat greenery of coffee, the heady fragrance of its blossoms, its showy berries, the clubs and colonial plantation bungalows, lies another, submerged Coorg.

Traditional way of dressing!

 Image Source : http://www.coorgexperiences.orangecounty.in/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Kodava-couple.jpg


When people  found their way to the hills of Coorg, over a thousand years ago, they found a wilderness so sublime, that they built small, open air shrines, and set aside large tracts of land for worship, and the land itself became for them, sacred. The only hint you will receive of this world today is the faint rhythm of drumbeats from forest groves, carried on the clear air from the valleys to the hilltops. Amongst the Coorgs, new elite emerged, of those willing to move with the times, westernised, smart, and breaking with tradition. But the spirit of Coorg survived, continuing to live in her villages. Men and women still remain fiercely loyal to their clans, and although the fighting stopped generations ago, there are echoes of history everywhere – a man’s everyday dress, now worn only on formal occasions, includes a short dagger tucked into the waistband, ready for use. A bridegroom arrives armed with a heavy war knife, putting it aside only while being blessed by elders and guests, or eating, and even within the premises of sacred shrines, there are warlike dances, striking and parrying with knives. Hunting and battle 
was the heart of their world, and is still reflected in many of their customs, even today.

 

Shrine and Practices

Shrine and Practices associated with it

Image Source : http://www.uppercrustindia.com/dynamic/uploads/_DSC5624.jpg

Kodava Wedding

Kodava Wedding

Image Source : http://www.coorgblog.orangecounty.in/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/A-wedding-is-an-occasion-to-look-forward-to..jpg