The iconic Sohrai- Khovar paintings- an indigenous art form of Hazaribagh received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag- the first of its kind for the state of Jharkhand on May 12.
Approved by the Geographical Indication Registry Chennai, a GI tag is basically granted to products which hail from a specific geographical region and also possess unique qualities particular to its place of origin.
The traditional and ritualistic art form made with naturally available soils of different hues is used to decorate mud or brick houses. Practiced by the tribal women, it can be seen most during the harvest festival and marriage season.
“Since the paintings belong to a plateau region, the mud from the area comes in different colours and that is what is used to make these paintings. The initiative for the research was started with the then Deputy Commissioner Ravi Shankar Shukla.while the pitch for the GI tag was made in August 2019. Normally it takes about two to three years for any product to receive the tag but Sohrai- Khovar paintings received the same in a record time of nine months,” said Dr Satyadeep Singh, Senior Legal Consultant, Government of Jharkhad, (Project on IPR in Association of National Law School of India, Bangalore)
‘Sohrai’ is a local festival whereas ‘Khovar’ is a nuptial chamber designed and decorated to bless a newly married couple. It is also one of the oldest art forms of wall paintings and is passed across generations from one woman to another.
“All the artists related with the Sohrai- Khovar paintings are females. It is passed from the mother to the daughter who takes it with her to a new household upon marriage and subsequently passes it to her daughter,” added Singh.
Lines, dots, animals and plants seen in these paintings often represent religious iconography. The tribal art has the history of more than 5000 years and can be traced somewhere between 7,000-4,000 BC. The GI tag recognition will give an economic and social boom to the artists and also have a great impact on the income of those involved with it by placing the art form on an international platform.
The famous Darjeeling Tea was the first to receive the tag in India. Madhubani painting were also been granted the same.