The Gond Tribal Art Form belong to a painting family, which is more popularly known as Pithora painting style, it is propagated by Rathwa, Bhilala, Naik and Bhil tribes of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, in India. These are ritualistic paintings done on the walls of their houses, and are done to thank, appease and commemorate the almighty for the auspicious occasions in their lives.
The origin of this Gond painting style has interesting story behind it. Usually, the priest of these tribal communities, called Badwa is involved in painting these beautiful work-of-arts. Whenever, the family faces any kind of problem, they ask Badwa to visit their homes and suggest ways to overcome their problems in family. Often the Badwa advices this family to undertake series of steps to appease the almighty, to solve their family problem; invariably the painting of Pithora on the walls of their family house is one of the step suggested by Badwa. These tribes consider Pithora Devta to be their reigning deity of their community, so his presence in their homes is believed to be auspicious and should be must have. So, all three walls of their rooms are readied for painting by plastering them with mud and cow-dung by the unmarried girls of the house, which is called “Lipna” in local parlance. After the walls dry out, the painters take over to paint beautiful Pithora art on walls. All the colours used for the paintings are made up of natural ingredients like leaves, flowers, other forest products, rice, milk, etc; as is the case with Paintings done by other Tribal communities.
The main characters of Rathwa Paintings are series of horses which represent the Pithora Devta and other gods and goddesses of their pantheon. Besides, Pithora Painters also paint many other characters from their folk-tales, for instance, Barah Mattha, Ganesh, horses with two faces and variety of human and animals involved in different activities.
In the recent years, we have seen revival in Pithora Tribal Art Form, with lots of talented Rathwa male and female artists coming into prominence, displaying unique blend of their traditional art style and the modern art forms. Their art is more like a decorative art, wherein they generously use bright colours in their beautiful art pieces.