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AIPAN MOTIFS: IMPLICATION OF CULTURE, TRADITION AND RELIGION IN THE LIFE OF KUMAONIS OF UTTARAKHAND
ANIRBAN DHAR

“In Art, Man reveals himself and not his objects.” Every region in India has its own style and pattern of Folk art. The folk and Tribal arts of India are very ethnic and simple, and yet colourful and vibrant enough to speak volumes about the country’s rich heritage. India had always been known as the land that portrayed cultural and traditional vibrancy through its conventional Folk and tribal arts. Uttarakhand, cradled in the lap of the lofty Himalayas, the state boasts of snow peaks, stealthy glaciers, meandering rivers, mist laden valleys and exotic species of flora and fauna. Inspired by this flawless natural splendour, the people of Uttarakhand have created and nurtured various forms of arts and crafts since ages. One of the most famous practicing folk art of India is mentioned “aipan” that rest in lush green trees, silvery snow mountains, clear blue sky and vibrating music of bells of Kumaun region in Uttarakhand state.

The folk and Tribal arts of India are very ethnic and simple, and yet colourful and vibrant enough to speak volumes about the country’s rich heritage. India had always been known as the land that portrayed cultural and traditional vibrancy through its conventional Folk and tribal arts. Uttarakhand, cradled in the lap of the lofty Himalayas, the state boasts of snow peaks, stealthy glaciers, meandering rivers, mist laden valleys and exotic species of flora and fauna.

Aipan, a traditional art form with which the Kumaonis particularly women decorate their houses to welcome an auspicious occasion like Festivals or any other event like marriage ceremony, and in various Ceremonies related to birth, marriage, and thread ceremony (also called the Janeu) and in case of death as well, now moves beyond the threshold of the Kumaon .The word “Aipan” is actually a derivative of the word “Arpan”, a Sanskrit word. The actual meaning of Aipan is “Likhai” that means writing, though it is a pattern that is made with the help of fingers. The women of Kumaun celebrate all festivals and rituals ceremonies by first decorating the floors and entrances of their homes with folk painting called as Aipans. This is an effective form of folk art which is extensively used in the state of the Uttarakhand.

CLASSIFICATION OF AIPAN :
A PAINTED FOLK ART FORM OF UTTARAKHAND
Through the research study and textual evidences, Aipan can be classified in to three styles of aipan namely Siddhu, Davia and Loukika. Siddhu is the style of aipan which drawn on floor and chaukies.

Davia is the form of patta. It has astrological motifs, manual designs and dwar pattas.

Loukika is the style of bar boond. These are drawn on walls. Later on Sah (2006), has classified the aipan in various styles. The medium selected for drawing aipan may be different depending upon the purpose or the occasion and variety of patterns and their combination may be used at different occasions. Classification of aipan- a folk form; also has specified on the basis of places where aipan are drawn: The drawing of aipan may be used at different places as texted: Floor Painting- Floor painting are drawn on floor. So; these are further divided into two categories; aipan drawn at door steps (creepers and filler design) and aipan drawn at place of worships (Shiv peeth, Laxmi peeth, Asan). Wall painting- Wall paintings are drawn on the wall. There are two traditional forms of wall painting in aipan ; one for the kitchen (Nata and Laxmi Narayana) and other for the place where ritual ceremonies are performed (Patas). On cloth- Some aipan designs/ motifs are also drawn on cloth. For example khodia chauki in pichhora and shiv peeth in yellow colour cloth used in rituals. Wooden chaukies are worships seats of the deities prepared through aipan and used on different occasion like worship, ceremonial occasion or on festivals.

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