Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"Kaavi Kale", traditional art of Konkan

Kaavi art

India is a land of traditions and art. There are so many folk, traditional art forms which are still alive, specific to a particular region and being practiced. There are also few art forms which is struggling to find their place either due to lack of patronage or due to lack of people to carry forward the tradition. Once such art which was once popular and slowly declining is the 'Kaavi Kale' of the Konkan Region of India.
'Kaavi Kale' famous in the Konkan areas mainly in Goa, South Canara(Coastal Karnataka) and few parts of coastal Maharashtra. 'Kaavi' is the reddish brown pigment obtained from the laterite soil and 'Kale' means art. The ingredients for this art is abundant in the coastal regions and hence this art finds presence in the Konkan. This is the only color used in these murals and forms a fine example for the monochrome art.
This form of art is said to be originated in Goa and the Saraswats spread them to other regions in the Konkan.
A mixture of burnt snow white lime, river bed sand, jaggery is made initially and left to ferment for two weeks. This mixture is hand pounded to make it smooth, later mixed with Kaavi and smeared on the walls. The desired design is etched on this layer and its smoothened by river pebbles. Water is is sprayed frequently for couple of days while this layer is hardened(It may sound simple but one needs to be expert in etching as well as good in Material Science).
The main features in this art are the deities, floral motifs, and characters from the epics like Ramayana, and Mahabharata. Most of the time the engraving depends on the main deity of the temple.
These murals look outstanding on the white walls and there is no doubt you will be left impressed by their beauty. Sadly in the name of modernization, the Kaavi work is on the verge of getting extinct.

Kaavi art
On the outer walls of Udupi Shri Krishna Temple

Kaavi art
Besides the main entrance(Mukhya Dwara)  of a small temple in Chempi, Udupi

Kaavi Art
Marikamba Temple, Sirsi, Karnataka

Kaavi art
Outside Kaniyoor Math, Udupi, Karnataka

Kaavi art

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