Art enthusiasts who were longing to immerse themselves in the rich culture of the ethnic arts headed to the State Art Gallery in Madhapur this weekend. A curation of artifacts, manuscripts, stone inscripts, music and percussion instruments were on display at the showcase titled ‘Aadya Kala – Telangana Ethnic Arts Exhibition’ by collector Professor Jayadhir Tirumala Rao.
The lobby of ‘Aadhi Chitra’ was filled with artworks dating back to the times of Nakashivulu. Riddled with varied expressions and history, the paintings are as old as 300 years depicting detailed accounts of inscriptions belonging to 12 clans – Gonda Chetty, Yenuti, Korrajula, Mandha Hethula, Therracheerala and Kommula. Some paintings also exhibited the rich and vibrant culture of Janapada folklore.
‘Aadhi Dhwani’ houses about 350 musical percussion instruments dating back to hundreds of years. “From time immemorial, man created music instruments made out of animal skin which slayed after the putrefaction of flesh. These instruments would give more rhythm and trance if one would feel the beat. After toiling all day in fields, only such instruments were able to relax his mind,” says Professor Jayadhir Tirumala Rao who has been reviving the lost art of tribes for the past 40 years.
Another lobby of ‘Aadhi Akshar’ has on display several stone inscriptions, manuscripts and paper scrolls of the bygone era. Characters and letters of Telugu language inscripted on animal bones, turtle shells and skins. “It has letters of Brahmi script, Dravida and Kharosthi that date back to the first century, that was around Satavahana dynasty. This tells the rich history of the Telugu language,” says Mettu Venkata Narayana, a member of Jayadhir’s team. A 500-leaflet manuscript and 200 manuscripts and other paper scrolls measuring 15 to 20 metres length have been restored by the team.
Another intricate artwork depicting the history of Theracheerala, a clan of Yadava community. “This depicts the rich history of Katamaraju belonging to the Yadava community. It contains the 150-year-old detailed history of the people, culture and their tradition. These artworks help people narrate stories and lost tales of Katamraju. The paintings are also used in festivals and jathara belonging to Lingamanthula Swamy and Gangamma,” said Narayana.
Inscriptions on stone, bronze and copper metals give a distinct appeal as to how the folklore back then used to pass on information to next generations. “Palm-leaf manuscript has information related to the traditional medicine of Unani and astrology. Some inscriptions give a detailed account of rulers and their heirs while some describe the castes and social structure prevalent during those times. Inscriptions on tree barks,” he added.
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