In this hundred and forty-first archive story by Kristian Bertel, we take a look at a Rajasthani statue and the folk art tradition in,India.
Read the background story of this archive photo by the photographer.
In this photograph a painted gateman has been photographed, a so-called 'Chowkidar', which is a traditional wood vintage statue from Rajasthan, India. It is folk art and Rajasthani handicraft wood, which is a handmade vintage style wood carved Indian watchman statue. Nowadays it can be one of the best way to gift your loved ones on any occasion and festivals.
In this photograph a painted gateman has been photographed, a so-called 'Chowkidar', which is a traditional wood vintage statue from Rajasthan, India. It is folk art and Rajasthani handicraft wood, which is a handmade vintage style wood carved Indian watchman statue. Nowadays it can be one of the best way to gift your loved ones on any occasion and festivals.

Folk art in India

Folk art covers all forms of visual art made in the context of folk culture. Definitions vary, but generally the objects have practical utility of some kind, rather than being exclusively decorative. The makers of folk art are typically trained within a popular tradition, rather than in the fine art tradition of the culture. There is often overlap or contested ground with naive art.

What are the traditional Indian folk arts?

These traditional Indian folk arts include music, dancing, puppetry, storytelling and much more. The term mainly focuses on visual arts and Indian Folk art is a term that refers to the artwork of people who are not professional artists, such as painters or sculptors and is often created in isolation.

Cultural diversity in India
Folk art is not used in regard to traditional societies where ethnographic art continue to be made. The folk and tribal arts of India express the cultural diversity of the nation and provide a window through which one can explore the rich heritage of Indian culture such as it is seen with this statue and sculpture in which the realistic, full-length figures of persons or animals are carved or cast in a durable material such as wood, metal or stone. Typical statues are life-sized or close to life-size, a sculpture that represents persons or animals in full figure but that is small enough to lift and carry is a statuette or figurin, whilst one more than twice life-size is a colossal statue.

Folk arts reflect the cultural life of a communitya and the art form encompasses the expressive culture associated with the fields of folklore and cultural heritage. Tangible folk art can include objects which historically are crafted and used within a traditional community. Intangible folk arts can include such forms as music and art galleries, dance and narrative structures. Each of these art forms, both tangible and intangible, typically were developed to address a practical purpose. Once the purpose has been lost or forgotten, there usually is no reason for further transmission unless the object or action has been imbued with meaning beyond its initial practicality. These artistic traditions are shaped by values and standards that are passed from generation to generation, most often within family and community, through demonstration, conversation and practice.

"Various figures in the religions and mythologies of the world serve as gatekeepers of paradisal or infernal realms, granting or denying access to these realms, depending on the credentials of those seeking entry"

The role of the figures in India
Figures acting in this capacity may also undertake the status of watchman, interrogator or judge and gatekeeper is a person who controls access to something, for instance with a city gate or bouncer or more abstractly, controls who is granted access to a category or status and these wooden figures are often seen outside houses in India. In the late 20th century the term came into metaphorical use, referring to individuals or bodies that decide whether a given message will be distributed by a mass medium. The crafts of India are diverse, rich in history, culture and religion. The craft of each state in India reflect the influence of different empires. Throughout centuries, crafts have been embedded as a culture and tradition within rural communities Kristian Bertel | Photography learned.

Royal heritage in Rajasthan
Rajasthan, recognised by its Royal heritage as it is seen on Condé Nast Traveller India is a prominent and well-established craft industry. Craft remains a tradition in Rajasthan, preserved over centuries by the stronghold of the Royal Rajput family. Within the craft industry are smaller occupations. These include, fabric coloration and embellishment, decorative painting and puppetry. Craft workers see this not as an occupation, but rather a mark of respect to their heritage. In the process of fabric colouration, woven fabrics are treated by methods such as tie-dyeing, resist dyeing and direct application. The 'Dupatta' worn by women show the popularity of dyeing. In 2008, traditional Jodhpur garments inspired designer Raghavendra Rathore's collection, Rathore Jodhpur. Fabric dyeing belongs to the Chippa caste of Rajasthan. Fabrics are embellished with mirror embroidery, symbolic to Rajasthan and wooden beading once dyed. The trend of mirror embroidery is also visible on 'Dupattas' in Punjab, known as the 'Phulkari'. Decorative patterns adorn all surfaces in Rajasthan. Interiors of homes are painted with floral motifs similar bindi, which is dotted designs are seen on garments. The clipped camel is unique to Rajasthan. In this, patterns are imprinted on the hide of the camel, taken place during the Pushkar and Nagaur festivals by the Rabari caste.

Puppetry and theatre art in India
Puppetry and theatre has remained a popular form of entertainment in Rajasthan. Recently, its popularity has reduced with increased interest in film and television amongst rural communities. Puppets or 'Kathputtlis' are also referred to in the local parlance, are an integral part of Rajasthan's folk entertainment. The puppets are gorgeously designed and are used in puppet shows to tell stories about historical legends and mythologies and also to reflect on modern day issues, like education for girls and child labor. The nat bhat caste produces these marionette style puppets. Facial expressions are painted on a mango wood head and the body is covered in decorative, Rajasthani clothing. The strings loosely bind the arms and torso together to give flexibility for movement. These puppets usually perform in legends and mythology conveying a moral message. The Rajasthani craft industry is iconic to the identity of India with many of its styles reaching the international market. Tie-dyeing is an example of how international fashion aesthetics have rooted from simple crafts methods of Rajasthan.

Important festivals of the people
The wooden Rajasthani 'Chowkidar' can also be seen at Gangaur is a festival celebrated in the Indian state of Rajasthan and Nimaar region such as Barwani, Khargone, Khandwa and so on of Madhya Pradesh. It is also celebrated in some parts of Gujarat and West Bengal.
Gangaur is colorful and one of the most important festivals of the people of Rajasthan and is observed throughout the state with great fervor and devotion by womenfolk who worship Gauri, the wife of Lord Shiva during March to April. It is the celebration of spring, harvest, marital fidelity and childbearing. Gana is a synonym for Lord Shiva and Gaur, which stands for Gauri or Parvati who symbolizes 'Saubhagya', which is marital bliss. The unmarried women worship her for being blessed with a good husband, while married women do so for the welfare, health, and long life of their husbands and happy married life. The festival reaches its climax during the last three days. The images of Gauri and Isar are dressed in new garments especially made for the occasion. Unmarried girls and married women decorate the images and make them look like living figures.

At an auspicious hour in the afternoon, a procession is taken out to a garden, 'Bawdi' or 'Johad' or well with the images of Isar and Gauri, placed on the heads of married women. Songs are sung about the departure of Gauri to her husband's house. The procession comes back after offering water to the first two days. On the final day, she faces in the same direction as Isar and the procession concludes in the consignment of the all images in the waters of a tank or a well. The women bid farewell to Gauri and turn their eyes and the Gangaur festival comes to an end.

Gods in color
Statues have been produced in many cultures from prehistory to the present, the oldest-known statue dating to about 30,000 years ago and they represent many different people and animals, real and mythical and many statues are placed in public places as public art. These painted sculpture of classical antiquity have details such as whether the paint was applied in one or two coats, how finely the pigments were ground or exactly which binding medium would have been used in each case all elements that would affect the appearance of a finished piece are not known.

Read also:  Boy in a village portraiture

Read also:  Boy in a village portraiture

More archive stories

India is a land full of stories. On every street, on every corner and in the many places in India, life is rushing by you as a photographer with millions of stories to be told. In the archive story above, you hopefully had a readable insight in the story that was behind the photo of a wooden statue in Jaisalmer. On this website of Kristian Bertel | Photography you can find numerous travel pictures from the photographer. Stories and moments that tell the travel stories of how the photographer captured the specific scene that you see in the picture. The photographer's images have a story behind them, images that all are taken from around India throughout his photo journeys. The archive stories delve into Kristian's personal archive to reveal never-before-seen, including portraits and landscapes beautifully produced snapshots from various travel assignments. The archive is so-far organized into photo stories, this one included, each brought to life by narrative text and full-color photos. Together, these fascinating stories tell a story about the life in India. India, the motherland to many people around the world, a land of unforgetable travel moments. The archive takes viewers on a spectacular visual journey through some of the most stunning photographs to be found in the photographer's archive collection. The photographer culled the images to reflect the many variations on the universal theme of beauty and everyday life in India. By adding these back stories the photographer's work might immensely enhanced the understanding of the photographs.