Kohvar and Sohrai art forms are identified with the Santhal people of the Bengal and Jharkhand region. The unique characteristic of these arts is that they fall exclusively in the domain of the women of the community. Delicate and beautiful, sacred and secular, the decorative art form is practised by married women during festivals and rituals. Weddings, harvest season and similar occasions call for these artistic expressions, which are traditionally passed down from one woman to another in the family. Kohvar art which is both comb-cut and finger painted, celebrates marriage, whereas Sohrai art is painted on the walls to commemorate a bountiful harvest. It is interesting to note that the traditional motifs which have been passed down through generations hark back to the ancient cave art found in the region. Animal and plant forms, elaborate design motifs and fertility motifs abound in the current practice. The practice of preparing dyes and colours is also a historic tradition. Natural colours are prepared in the traditional manner, resulting in a hue of colours. These include neutral earth shades, red oxide from stones, red ochre, kaolin white and black earth among others. The colour palette is limited to the above, and other primary colours like blue and green are not used.
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