About Saura Paintings

The Tribal Art of Odisha

Saura Paintings were originally painted as 'wall murals' also called as ikons inspired by the deep-rooted religious beliefs of the Saura tribe, which is among the ancient tribes of India. As the people of this tribe considered every natural phenomenon as an act of some God, deity or ancestral spirit, these ikons were drawn to appease Saura ancestors and deities and they worshipped them on special religious and cultural occasions such as child-birth, harvest, marriage and the construction of a new house.

Saura art form is drawn from a rich set of motifs taken from their assocciation with nature, society and everyday life that include the Sun (God), the Moon (God), the Wind (God), the village deity, people, horses, elephants and tree of life. Unlike its twin art form Warli, the Saura paintings are drawn in rectangular frames from the border inwards, and use more fluid stick figures with little movement. Though both Saura and Warli art forms draw no features on faces and tell stories with their gestures.

In recent times, this unique, detail-oriented yet so simple art form with symbolic representation of the tribal lifestyle is getting extensive popularity among both the domestic and international market. To keep up with the trend of the contemporary times, the paintings are now drawn on handmade paper or silk cloth and new motifs are also getting incorporated gradually.