COLLECTING TRADITIONAL INDIAN ART
While contemporary art has certainly taken off in India, many Indian artists are also maintaining the nation’s strong artistic traditions. The skills and techniques of traditional Indian art, sometimes called folk or tribal Indian art, have been celebrated and passed down for centuries. Traditional Indian art is a special way for collectors today to celebrate their heritage and bring their culture into their home.
Two prominent traditions of Indian art are Kalamkari and Madhubani (Mithila) painting. Kalamkari is a classic Indian art form of hand-painting or block-printing on cloth and derives its name from the word ‘kalam,’ which means pen or brush. Originating from the Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Kalamkari painting was first practiced to decorate temple chariots and backgrounds for the idols of Gods. Today, artists have preserved the meticulous 23-step process of using only natural materials and dyes in Kalamkari paintings. From bleaching, softening and sun drying the fabric to preparing and mixing natural pigments, the entire procedure requires precision and sharp attention to detail.
Madhubani art, also known as Mithila art, is a rich tradition of domestic ritual painting that takes its name from the region in northern Bihar where it began and continues to thrive. Historically, women made Madhubani paintings on the freshly plastered walls and floors of mud huts. Today, Madhubani artists continue to make their paints and brushes from locally available materials, and the handmade paper is treated with cow dung, which helps maintain the strong color of the natural pigments. In intricate scenes of nature, social themes and Hindu deities, no space remains empty on a Madhubani painting—the gaps are filled in with flowers, animals, birds and geometric designs.
Not only do these tribal Indian paintings express the unique imagery and colors of India, but they are also very reasonably priced. At Laasya Art gallery, we have selected the best artists working in these traditions to offer a curated collection of original Kalamkari paintings and original Madhubani (Mithila) paintings for sale, beginning at $850 for a framed work. These internationally recognized artists include National Award recipients and Padma Shri awardees, and their families have pursued their art forms for generations. If you are interested in buying traditional Indian art, you can browse our available folk paintings online or view them in person at our gallery in Palo Alto (San Francisco Bay Area).