Introduction Bastar Art

Chhattisgarh, the heart-beat of India, is the place where ART is synonymous to LIFE. It is entangled into
the daily existence of every individual born into this culturally rich and diverse land. The people born in
this land developed alternative means of expressing themselves to record their stories and important
events with their collective past and also to embellish and enhance the simple objects of daily life.
Centuries old hallmarks are the simplest, yet the most intricate crafts that emerge from the hands of the
Bastar craftsman inspired by the world of nature in all its effervescence. The beauty of Bastar Art lies in
the delightful fusion of the antique and the contemporary.
Entire raw material is provided by the Mother Nature itself.
 Bell metal and wrought iron is obtained from the mineral rich rocks.
 Wood and sisal from the surrounding forests.
 Terracota is obtained from the riverbeds.
Mythological stories, ancient beliefs, religion, trackless vistas of virgin forest, dazzling range of flora and
fauna, waterfalls and ancient caves are the sources of artisan’s thoughts and imagination which gets
reflected in their crafts.

Some Myths which Inspire the Creativity

 Folklore of the Bastar tribe states that their forefathers first made iron accidentally. According
to the Folklore, the story is as follows:
o After cutting the branches and upper stem of sal tree, stubs remain. White ants favor
these stubs as a site for an anthill. When the top of an anthill is severed horizontally, it
reveals a hollow interior. Once in order to catch a rat which has entered such an
opening, a hunter covered the opening at the top with a red rock. Then he bore a
horizontal hole at the base, made fire, lighted leaves and blew in the flame through the
horizontal hole to force out the rat. Next day he found that a streak of metal had come
out of the bored hole, which was more suitable for weapons than anything used before.

 “How the Elephant Lost His Wings” is a story shared by tribal groups in Central India. It tells of a
belief that in the beginning the first elephants had wings, but because they were disobedient
and destructive, (after flying around they would rest on the roofs of tribal huts which collapsed
under their great weight), their wings were removed by a local tribal god and were given instead
to the peacock (who was quite plain at that time) to become its wonderful tail, and to the bare
banana tree to become its majestic leaves.

 Sacrifices of Horses, buffaloes and goats were made to Mariyamman, the goddess of smallpox to
save the clan from her vengeance.