Ritual and decorative wall paintings of the Alu Kurumba community: An art traced back to prehistory – Tamil Nadu

Ministry of Culture Govt. of India
Photo gallery: https://www.indiaculture.nic.in/photo-gallery/1002

Traditional Craftsmanship

The Alu Kurumbas of Tribal Nilgiris , apart from decorating the walls of their dwelling huts with their indigenous peintings, are observed to draw caricature sketches of human beings over the rock outcrops in and around their indigenous habitats in order to bring magical effects on the people depicted therein. The graphic art tradition of Alu Kurumbas of Tribal Nilagiris might be traced back to the Prehistoric Period from the cultural point of view wherein the rock art site of Vellaricombai is regarded as their sacred site. Moreover, the Alu Kurumbas are observed to venerate the ‘ key anthropomorphic figure’ of that site as their ‘ancestral spirit’ and believe that it could be revitalized by periodical (annual) re-touching and or re-drawing the ritual cult figure (drawn already & masked with lime coat) on the wall of their shaman’s hut. They use the leaf juice (Pachchele Chaaru) and the latex extract (Vaenga Paalu) as the paint and the aerial root of banyan tree (Aalanguchchi Vaeru) as the painting brush.

Region

‘The Nilgiris’, popularly known as the ‘Blue Moutains’, is an integral part of the great Deccan Plateau which occupies the juncture of Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats of South India.

Source: National List for Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH), Ministry of Culture, Government of India
URL: https://www.indiaculture.nic.in/national-list-intangible-cultural-heritage-ich
Date visited: 7 April 2021

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