IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


11th September, 2023 Culture

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  • A Cheriyal scroll painting from Telangana, a handwoven Tussar silk stole, and a handcrafted bell metal figurine of a woman made by artisans from Chattisgarh are among the gifts that first ladies or spouses of heads of state from around the world, who will gather for the upcoming G20 Summit, will receive during their visit to the Indian Agricultural Research (IARI) at Pusa campus.


  • The Cheriyal scroll painting — the art form is centuries-old — depicts myths and legends in narrative scrolls.
  • Cheriyal scrolls have geographical indication (GI) status that is given to products that have a specific geographical origin and that possess qualities or a reputation arising from their provenance.
  • Cheriyal scroll painting, also known as Cheriyal painting or Nakashi art, is a traditional form of storytelling art originating from the Cheriyal village in the state of Telangana.
  • These scroll paintings are characterized by their vibrant colors, intricate detailing, and rich narrative content.

Historical Significance

  • Cheriyal scroll painting has a long and rich history dating back to the 15th century.
  • It has been passed down through generations of a specific community of artists known as "Nakashi."
  • This art form was traditionally used as a means of storytelling, especially during performances of the traditional shadow puppetry theater called "Tholu Bommalata."

Materials and Technique

  • Cheriyal paintings are typically done on scrolls made from khadi cloth or treated paper.
  • The artists use natural pigments and dyes, making the paintings eco-friendly. The primary colors used are red, yellow, green, and black.
  • The artists employ a stylized and intricate technique with fine brushwork to create detailed characters and scenes.

Themes and Subject Matter

  • Cheriyal scroll paintings primarily depict mythological, folk, and historical narratives. Popular themes include episodes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas, and local folklore.
  • These paintings often feature stories of gods, goddesses, heroes, and legends from Indian culture.
  • Apart from traditional themes, contemporary subjects and social issues are also sometimes depicted to make the art form more relevant to modern audiences.


  • Cheriyal paintings are characterized by bold lines, vibrant colors, and intricate detailing.
  • The use of primary colors and the unique iconography make these paintings visually striking and easily recognizable.
  • Figures in Cheriyal paintings have a distinct stylized appearance with exaggerated features and expressions.

Role in Storytelling

  • Historically, Cheriyal scroll paintings served as visual aids during traditional storytelling performances. They were unfurled as the narrative progressed, adding a dynamic element to the storytelling experience.
  • The scrolls were used to engage the audience and enhance their understanding of the narrative.

Contemporary Adaptations

  • In recent years, Cheriyal scroll painting has evolved to cater to a wider audience. Artists create smaller, more portable pieces of art suitable for framing and wall décor.
  • Modern artists also experiment with the traditional style, incorporating new themes and styles while preserving the essence of Cheriyal art.

Challenges and Preservation

  • Cheriyal scroll painting is facing challenges due to changing artistic preferences and competition from digital media.
  • Efforts are being made to preserve and promote this art form through workshops, exhibitions, and government initiatives.


Cheriyal scroll painting is a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Telangana and the artistic skill of its Nakashi community. It continues to captivate art enthusiasts and storytellers with its timeless narratives and intricate craftsmanship.


Q. Consider the following statements regarding Cheriyal scroll painting:

  1. Cheriyal scroll painting is primarily done on canvas using oil-based colors.
  2. These paintings traditionally served as visual aids during storytelling performances, particularly in shadow puppetry theater.
  3. Cheriyal scroll painting originated in the Cheriyal village of Telangana.
  4. The themes of Cheriyal scroll paintings are limited to stories from Indian epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Which of the statements above are correct?

A) 1 and 3

B) 2 and 4

C) 3 and 4

D) 2 and 3

Answer: D)