Bhils are the second biggest tribal community of India residing in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. Although Gonds and Bhils live in the same state yet their culture is completely different. Also, the flora and fauna of these tribes are completely different.
Gonds live in the lush green forest of Satpura whereas Bhil comes from the mountain range of Vindh which is treeless and dry.
Bhil is considered prehistoric and you can easily find their mention in Ramayan, Vishnu Puran, Shiv Puran, etc. Even Lord Krishna died by an arrow of Bhil warrior.
Some historians consider them to exist before Dravidian and Aryan races.
Bhil Art - Origin
Bhil art is one of the best examples of traditional art. Bhil tribes believe nature has a soul. They consider plants, tree animals, and even non-living things to have powers and God lives in them.
Bhil tribes worship these divine powers and they are called ‘Pithora’.
Worshipping of Pithora is the main festival for the Bhils.
Bhil community worship Pithora by singing and painting.
How Bhil Art started
Like Gond Art, Bhil Art also started from mud walls. Thanks to J.Swamithan who recognized and groomed this artwork. Padamshri Bhuri Bai who was one of the labourer of Bharat Bhawan was one of the 1 st ladies to draw Bhil art on Canvas
In the stories of the paintings, Pithoara God’s horses can fly to the sky, land, and hades.
According to Eshita Nimje, one of the new age artists who practices all types of folk and tribal art –
“Bhil Art is like a fairy tale, the amalgamation of a colorful world with the cycle of life, where we are visitors passing through, observing and acknowledging the deepest antiquity of our civilization.”
Symbols and characters in Bhil Painting
Bhil worships Pithora Dev by painting the main wall of their living room by using mud and natural colors. These paintings are based on mythological characters such as Maha Dev, Baap Dev, Bagasa Dev, Bagh Dev, Kaumar Dev, Bheel Mata, Kali Mata, and many more.
Also, they love to paint the characters they see in their surroundings such as Bhil Farmer, Cow, and Calf, Monkey, Well, Camels, King, Snake, Sun, moon, etc.
Famous Artists in Bhil Community
Bhuri Bai and Lajo Bai are internationally acclaimed artists of the Bhil Community. Bhuri Bai has being awarded Padam Shri in the year 2021.
Other artists of the Bhil community whose artwork is well known are Shanta Bhuriya, Sheer Singh, Ramesh Bariya, and Jambu Singhaad.
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