Saura painting is a historic tradition of wall painting associated with the Saura tribe of Orissa. Also called ikons or ekons, they hold a religious significance and are similar to the Warli art form practised in other regions. Saura indigenous communities patronise these paintings as religious visual manifestoes, being an integral part of their ritualistic beliefs and practices. Mostly dedicated to itidal, the main deity of the Saura tribes, these works derive heavily from folklore and mythology. Originally painted on walls the recurring theme includes people, animals and cosmic entities like the sun and the moon. A monochrome base is prepared from red or yellow ochre earth on which motifs are painted in handmade pigments derived from the trees, rocks and other natural sources, applied with skilfully fashioned bamboo brushes. These icons are worshipped during special ceremonial occasions.
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