Tribal Arts of the Sauras of Odisha


The art of the Sauras a tribe based in Orissa, draws inspiration and direction from their spiritual and religious beliefs. It functions as a means of worship and a medium of invocation.

Over the centuries, the Sauras have developed an elaborate system of sacrifices and procedures involving magic, incantation, charm and sorcery intended to compliment and offer praise to the spirits thereby appeasing them. One such practices is that of painting on the walls of their homes as these spaces serve as temporal resting spaces in the living world for the spirits. Their arts create a consecrated space within domestic dwellings. This tightly knit world of people and spirits is the base of saura Art.

The artist rendering the artwork is directed by the shaman or may get possessed himself when invoking the spirits to guide his hand. Using fresh red earth and water to provide a good background the painter uses a twig as a brush. The main colour - white is usually sourced from rice, ash, chalk or lime mixed with water, with lamp black, red ochre, indigo blue and yellow also used.

The stylistic variation can be grouped in four categories. Each group is identified with the village that is centrally located in the area and the style is named after the village Puttasingh, Padampur (Koraput district) Seranga and Mohana (Ganjam district)

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