- The Saoras inhabit the remote ranges flanking the great Bansadhara river in southern Odisha.
- The Saora people are a jungle tribe with a shamanic culture.
- A shaman, usually a woman, serves as an intermediary between the two worlds [of the living and the dead].
- One by one the spirits speak through her mouth and communicate with the people of the community.
- They are primarily an agricultural community, with some practicing shifting cultivation.
- Tribal paintings are like prayers that become part of the offerings made to Gods, ancestors and spirits.
- Themes of these paintings emphasize on nature, the great outdoors and also on the cycle of ploughing, sowing & harvesting.
- The ritualistic pictographs are drawn on the inner walls of their mud dwellings called ‘Ittlans.’
- A Saora painting is called Iditaland the person who creates it is known as the iditalmar who draws to instructions from the shaman to appease Saora ancestors and deities that may have caused diseases faced by the community.
- Some frequently featured motifs include Labasum (the Earth God), Jodisum (the village deity), Manduasum (the Sun God) and Jananglosum (the wind deity).
- Distinct paintings are drawn with different occasions between birth and death in mind.
More such efforts:
- Similar efforts are on to add value to the Dongria Kondh shawl, Dokra relics, bamboo and paddy handicrafts, the tribal jewellery of Nilagiri, Koraput’s workmanship in iron, and the beed jewellery of the Bonda tribals.
Section : History & Culture