Cheriyal Scroll Painting

This school of painting originated from Cheriyal, a place situated in Warangal district of Andhra Pradesh. It is a modernized and stylized version of Nakashi art. A rich scheme of colours is used to depict the scrolls of narrative format from mythology and folklore.

These paintings are Cheriyal scrolls because these paintings are now only confined to Cheriyal villages. Some historians believe that the cheriyal scroll paintings have its origin in Rajasthan. It is also claimed the Mughal emperors brought this Art to India.

This style of painting is considered culturally and sociologically significant by the people of Telangana part of Andhra Pradesh.

By virtue of its distinct traditional style and characteristics Cheriyal Paintings received Intellectual Property Rights Protection or Geographical Indication (GI) status in 2007.

Cheriyal Scroll Paintings: Some details

This traditional form of art became an indispensable and inseparable part of the profession of Kaki Padagollu, a story telling community. The Cheriyal scrolls were displayed by them with the help of music and dance. They went from one village to another, singing and narrating the stories from Indian Epics and Puranas.

The scroll would flow like a film roll. The function of the visual medium was played by the scroll while the song of the bard was the audio medium. The traditional scrolls are normally in vertical format, illustrating stories in a series of horizontal panels. Depending upon the story, the length of the scroll went up to 40 feet and the width used to be around three feet. The two panels were separated by a floral border while the linear narrative was demonstrated by a building or a tree. Each panel of the scroll depicted one part of the story. One scroll would consist of approximately 50 scrolls. With the narration of the story by the bard, the panel depicting that particular part of the story would be displayed. The selection of episodes and iconography of each deity was done taking into account to the caste for which the scroll was made.

Salient Features of Cheriyal Scroll Painting:

  • In vivid hues (mostly primary colors) with a predominance of red in the background, these scroll paintings are easy to relate to – as the themes and stories are familiar – drawn from ancient literary, mythology and folk traditions.
  • The common themes are from the Krishna Lekha, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Shiva Puranam, Markandeya Puranam and stories of communities like Gauda, Madiga and so on.
  • Simple rural life – Women doing chores in the kitchen, working in the paddy fields, festival scenes are so endearingly depicted.
  • The costumes and settings in which the figures are depicted are a reflection of the culture of Andhra, where these paintings originated.
  • Within the narrow panels, proportion is created by depicting trees, or building, a pillar with drawn curtains, etc.