About the Folk Art
Indigenous art of Singhbhum, originated with folk spirit of Jharkhand. So, it is undividable from original Jharkhand folk art. The heritage of art maintained by the indigenous people of Singhbhum transmit the imagination about their evaluation and existing along with the concept of beauty. It is wrong to formulate that folk art in general do not have any aesthetic aspect and it is just a utilitarian object. So is the case of Singhbhum. The folk art of Singhbhum embraces articles of daily use as well as those made on special occasion such as wedding and funerals. The basic purpose of all folk art around the world is ritualistic. Creation of art is underlined with certain rituals be it mask, ancestors statues, utensils, knitting, matting, weaving, basketing, wood craft, earthen wares etc. The most important among them are their wall embellishment and mask for Chhau dance. Since the area of their art is under rapid extinction due the displacement, they are on the verge of degradation.
Traditionally they used various art forms. Among them body painting (tatoo), stone cutting, bull painting (during Bandna) folk painting fresco, sculpting horse, elephant etc. for the ritual purpose. Also they used to craft some totemic images in the wood. Decoration of wall is very common art. The methods and materials used are traditional and handed down in the families, generation after generation and still persist with little alteration. It is unsophisticated of even rough hewn, often with bold colours. The quality of freshness, spontaneity, sincerity and simplicity of their art are appreciable. The type of decorative designs have characteristic of new stone age or Neolithic. It is quite clear through study of primitive art that there are some principles of form and decoration which are universal. The pattern become very schematic and are more geometrical.
The mask made of Papier machei in Singhbhum has its own significance. Papier machei of Kashmir is famous for house wares and decorative items with delicate painting and papier machei of Madras is well known for large size sculpted images. The papier machei of Saraikela and Charinda is popular for the mask for Chhou Dance. The methods and materials are separate from each other.
The bamboo found in this thick forest is of a special quality. These bamboos are thin but strong and flexible. The artisan of Jharkhand use these bamboos in different artifacts like, basket, hauting & fishing equipments. Besides the Mahlis, Kharia’s in some villages have taken this trade for their survival. Particularly, the fishing cage made by the Kharias are excellent.
Tribals are very fond of ornaments all over the world. So the tribal of this area inherently use various types of ornaments, like the ornaments made of bead, precious stones metals like gold and silver. Design is very simple like their art. Moal a rounded pipe of silver on feed, flats waste girt, spiral silver wires on wrist and arm, wide variety of necklace, ear ring etc.
Besides agricultural implements, hunting tools and weapons are the product by the blacksmith. The Malhar and Thentri communities are expertise in metal casting, mainly producing house wares. Malhar are nomadic but the Thentris are settle amidst the tribes in the district.
In the area weapon art is not much conventional but very common and similar to the primitive people. The black smiths produce all required tools and weapons for agriculture and safety
Even a few years back the tradition of stone carving was alive. Some families who were well skilled are not showing up any more, only few artisan are seen in the district
The Jharkhand region was also known as Jungle Mahal because of its dense forest which is inherent. The forest is rich with quality wood and the wood is used for producing the equipment required in housing, farming, fishing etc. for survival. The artisans of some villages went a step ahead and have explored creativity as well in their art, like beautifully decorative door panels, toys, boxes, and other household articles. Chhuthar, the carpenter community is engaged in this trade. Others are also skilled in this trade