Tikuli art is an unique art form from Bihar, which has a very rich and deep traditional history. The word ?tikuli? is the local term for ?bindi?, which is usually a bright, colourful dot that women wear between their brows. In the past, the bindi was created as a symbolic means of worshipping intellect and conserving the modesty of women. However, in today?s time, Tikuli art serves as a source of empowerment for the women of Bihar.
In the picture below, it can be easily seen that even though the figures are small in scale, the artist has not compromised on the details.
With the decline of the Mughal Empire, and the coming of the British Raj, Tikuli art faced a severe blow. The British introduced industrialization, and indigenous goods came to be replaced by cheap machine-made goods. Thousands of Tikuli artists were left jobless as machine-made bindis came into the market, and Tikuli art was lost in the chaos.
The revival of this art form can solely be attributed to two artists. In 1954, Chitracharya Padmashree Upendra Maharathi single-handedly took on the initiative of reviving this dying art form.
Making Tikuli art is a delicate and tedious process. Simply put, one can divide it into three steps:
1. Tikuli artists use hardboard to create paintings. They cut the hardboard into various shapes like circular, rectangular, triangular, or square.
2. The artists apply 4-5 coats of enamel thereafter on the cut wooden piece. After every coat, they rub the wood with sandpaper, thus giving it a polished surface.
3. After the final coat of enamel, the artisans paint the design. It is also embellished with gold foil and jewels.
Tikuli art also uses Madhubani motifs in its paintings.