It is universally accepted that art is the expression of aesthetic experience even in the most uncivilized ages man had the urge to express and communicate his ideas and experiences .Art occupies a prominent place in the cultural development of the country.
According to Art Historian M.C Worquit in his book Most Primitive Art to have a thorough knowledge of the civilization of a country it is essential that its art is studied. According to one scholar, the word folk does not mean common people or villages it represent all that population in towns as well as in villages whose formal knowledge is not derived from books. These people lead a simple and natural life. Folk are the manifestation of collective consciousness impression and perception of the village people. In his book, ‘Educational significance of indigenous African Art’ G A Stevens writes about the purity, simplicity and emotional quality of folk art. He is of the opinion that folk-art is based on religious feeling and spiritual experience.
There are no special artists to create it. It is the natural outcome of the emotional, religious and spiritual feelings striving of the common people by the common people. Its chief characteristic is sincerity. Folk art is a type of a cooperative art in the social life of the people, it is deeply rooted, it is connected with prevalent rites and rituals and religious faith of the people. Folk art is traditional and it cannot go against those accepted traditions and conventions.
Karel Sourell in his book ‘Folk Art in Pictures’ writes that folk-art in Europe is discovered a century ago. It is the awakening of natural feeling and consciousness. The broad outlook of the people brought about all round development. A great stress was laid and is being laid on the cultural awakening among the people. Every cultural activity is gaining international form and the society is giving full cooperation in it. A great deal of research is to be done to investigate about the world art. This investigation was first done in Europe. In Bohemia State Joseph Manns started this important investigation. He made folk art immortal and realized its national, social and cultural importance. It is due to successful social and spiritual life that folk art became popular. Folk songs, rhymes, fables but all knowledge concerning folk life, its aesthetic experience and cultural effort became the main part of the civilized society. It is the valuable property of the nation. It is the natural art because it is the cultural voice of a nation. We do not have a full and complete history of the origin and development of folk art. But it is clear that it developed as man progressed. Modern folk art is the developed form of primitive art. The time of its origin lies between 2000 to 10000 BC.The western scholars of Indian history are of the opinion that primitive art of India is not older than 8000 BC.But Indian historians do not agree with this and hold that the primitive art of India is more than 10000 years old.
Folk art can be classified under four categories
Religious Folk Art
Religion is its chief characteristic. In folk art religion holds a prominent place. The art that is based on the religious rites and worship of God and deities is religious. The idols of Gods and Swastika and other symbols and alpana etc. are its examples. In India in the celebration of every festival, art and religion go together hand in hand. Karwa Chauth, Ashtami, Rangoli all decoration done on these occasions is related to religion. No woman can forsake these rites because there is a feeling of personal welfare together with that of common welfare.
Utilitarian Folk Art
Every art is useful but in some arts utility occupies a primary space and truth and beauty are secondary. This type of art serves more our necessities. Caves, utensils, clothes, arms, tools etc. come under this category.
Personal Folk Art
The art that represents and fulfills the personal strivings and needs is personal folk art. On the occasion of marriage decorative patterns are made on the floor and doors. The articles and ornaments of flowers as head dress, garlands etc. and in the temples the abode of god made of flowers in the month of sawan all represent this personal art. It can be called a decorative folk art also. Women do embroidery or the henna designs on their hands. In it there is the feeling of love that finds expression in these actions.
Amusement Folk Art
All those forms and patterns that are done for amusement are amusement folk art. Women like hennaing on their hands and feet and making different patterns with it. On clothes also embroidery is done where beads, gotta and borders are used to make clothes look attractive. All this is done for pleasure sake.