10 Indian Art Forms On The Verge of Extinction (1/2)

By Shireen Gupta
Many Indian art forms that have represented our nation are on their death beds, begging revival. Here is a glimpse of those art forms.


India attracts more than 50 lakh foreign tourists each year and most of them travel to the gorgeous republic in hopes of catching a quick glimpse of culture, and can you blame them? Every king that ruled and every leader that lead has left a fragment of themselves in different parts of the nation, be it monuments or paintings.

Referred to by many as the cultural centre of the world, almost every Indian state has an art form that is sublime. However, changing times have also brought about changed responses. Many art forms that represented our nation are on their death beds, begging revival. Here are some of those dying art forms.

Phad Painting

Rajasthani (Marwari) Wedding Card in Phad Painting/Behance

Phad painting originated in Rajasthan over 600 years ago. This specific kind of painting is categorized as “scroll painting.” The paintings traditionally portray scenes of Indian mythology, with its stories being eulogies of kings and queens. Phad paintings are painted on clothes using only natural vegetable colours. Despite its uniqueness, Phad didn’t hold up well in the passing sands of time and is now little known among individuals.

Patachitra Scroll Painting

Image: Photo Kahini

Patachitra has its roots in West Bengal and Bihar. This painting also belongs to the scroll category but unlike Phad, these scroll paintings depict folktales and preserve the visual performances of dancers in a physical form. Patachitras are drawn on long, vertical scrolls. These paintings are not well known among the citizens of India, let alone the world. The ever so dying popularity of this artform is leading the artisans to stop the production Patachitra scroll paintings.

Parsi Embroidery

Parsi Gara embroidery on a Benarasi saree/ Vogue

Parsi is a name given to the community of Zoroastrians who moved to India ages ago. Parsi embroidery dates back to the Bronze Age. Based largely on Irani culture, it also takes in fragments of Europe, China, Persia and India. The fading Parsi embroidery is not because of the lack of popularity but the lack of artisans who have expertise in the form. The reduction of the Parsi population in India is also the cause of this embroidery dying away.

Patola Saree

Image – giftideaz.in

Following the Indonesian native technique of weaving, these sarees originated in Gujrat. Patola sarees are made of pure silk material, therefore making them exorbitant. Even back in the day, Patola sarees were considered extortionate, so much so, that only royalty could afford and wear it. This category of saree does not have a wide range of consumers due to its sky-high prices.

Dhokra Handicraft

Image – BuySellCraft

Dhokra is an art form that is so old that the its first citing dates back to the good old days of Mohenjo-daro. True to its period, the oldest of its kind, the dancing girl, is made out of bronze. Dating hundreds of years back, this art form seems to be slipping out of our hands because of the simple fact that not many know the technique of handling this delicate piece of art.

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