Idital

Idital or Edital is a style of mural painting associated with the Saura tribals of the state of Odisha in India. These paintings, also called ikons (or ekons) are visually similar to Warli paintings and hold religious significance for the Sauras. It is a kind of Saura painting that was invented and is practised by the Sora people who mostly live in the Rayagada, Gajapati, and Koraput districts of Odisha. The artisans paint Idital as a symbol of devotion to the tribal deity "Idital" or "Edital". Each piece of Idital painting contains symbols and signs and each one of them conveys a distinct meaning. "Jodisum" and "Jananglasum" are two known Idital styles.

These paintings draw upon tribal folklore and have ritualistic importance. Ikons make extensive use of symbolically pregnant icons that mirror the quotidian chores of the Sauras. People, horses, elephants, the sun and the moon, and the tree of life are recurring motifs in these ikons. Ikons were originally painted on the walls of the Saura's adobe huts. The paintings' backdrop is prepared from red or yellow ochre earth which is then painted over using brushes fashioned from tender bamboo shoots. Ekons use natural dyes and chromes derived from ground white stone, hued earth, and vermilion and mixtures of tamarind seed, flower, and leaf extracts.

Ikons are worshipped during special religious and cultural occasions such as childbirth, harvest, marriage, and the construction of a new house. Ikons are not commissioned frequently and an existing one can be regularly used for mundane rituals. The building of a new dwelling however necessitates the commissioning of an ekon, which is painted in a dark corner inside the home where its creation is accompanied by the recital of a specific set of prayers. Traditionally, Kudangs, the priestly class among the Sauras, painted the ikons since they also had the expertise to explain the symbolic import of the images contained therein to the villagers. Thus the ikons also became a part of the oral tradition of the Sauras that linked them to their traditions and customs. Today the Kudangs have been supplanted by artists and paintings are often executed in non-traditional locales.

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