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As Nepali villages modernize, mokha artwork is on the verge of disappearing · World Voices

As Nepali villages modernize, mokha artwork is on the verge of disappearing · World Voices

2023-12-03 23:36:53

This stunning mokha artwork from Japanese Nepal’s Sunsari District can be taken down quickly as a result of highway growth. Photograph by Sanjib Chaudhary. Used with permission.

In Nepal’s southern plains, village landscapes had been as soon as dominated by bamboo and mud-walled homes with thatched and tiled roofs. Significantly in Japanese Nepal, houses belonging to the Tharus had been embellished with stunning mokha art on mud partitions. Nonetheless, as the standard mud homes in Nepal are being replaced by concrete houses, the well-known artwork is on the verge of vanishing.

In keeping with the National Population and Housing Census 2021, greater than 50 p.c of homes in Nepal have cemented partitions, whereas round 30 p.c of homes have mud-bonded brick or stone partitions. Solely round 11 p.c of homes have bamboo partitions, to not point out the three.9 p.c of homes with thatched roofs and 9.2 p.c of homes with tiled roofs.

Generations of mokha artwork

Within the japanese Nepali districts of Sunsari and Morang, the Tharus create intricate designs and patterns utilizing a mix of clay blended with rice bran, cow dung, straw and jute, referred to as mokha artwork.

The artists, principally ladies, make a combination of clay and jute, as shown in this YouTube video produced by Imaginative and prescient Nepal. Layers of clay are utilized to the partitions, forming numerous geometric and floral patterns, together with depictions of birds comparable to peacocks and parrots. After the design dries, it’s painted with pure colors, changed by colors discovered out there lately.

Mokha artwork, referred to as ‘payar’, from a home in Japanese Nepal’s Saptari District. Photograph by Sanjib Chaudhary. Used with permission.

Likewise, within the districts of Saptari, Siraha, and Udaypur, the artists use a combination of clay, rice bran and cow dung and daub it on the bamboo partitions along with straw. They apply layers of this combination to create geometric and floral patterns, together with peacocks, parrots and elephants. As soon as the design dries, it’s painted with pure white clay earlier than making use of different pure colors — ochre and purple clay, and black soot amongst others. This artwork, a type of mokha, known as ‘payar’.

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This artwork, together with its methods, processes, motifs, and patterns, has been handed down from one era to the subsequent. Girls sometimes inherit this information from their moms and grandmothers.

“It has been handed down from era to era throughout the rural household, normally — however in no way all the time — carried out by the ladies”, wrote Kurt W. Meyer and Pamela Deuel, who spent around four years touring nearly 300 Tharu villages. “There aren’t any colleges, no artwork faculties, no lecturers who inform them what’s ‘proper’ and what’s ‘mistaken’ — it is because of this that we name it ‘Artwork with out Artists’”.

Artwork to brighten doorways and home windows

Mokha artwork and different types of wall decorations are usually created throughout festivals and for particular events like marriage.

“Mokha artwork is made on the suitable and left sides of the principle door and across the home windows,” writes Bishnu Prasad Chaudhary in his guide Tharu Lok Kala (Tharu People Arts). “Including jute and cotton to the clay minimizes cracking of the patterns.”

Likewise, including milk to the colors earlier than making use of them to the designs ensures the colors don’t fade rapidly. The feminine artists additionally enhance the pillars with these artwork motifs.

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“A well-decorated home displaying mokha artwork remains to be referred to as a home having fortunate ladies”, writes artist S.C. Suman. “There’s prosperity in a home having mokha. In keeping with fashionable perception among the many Tharus, if there isn’t a mokha in somebody’s home, half a kilogram of rice is misplaced day-after-day.”

Modernization killing the standard artwork

Pramila Biswas of Labipur, Sunsari District in south-eastern Nepal, takes satisfaction in displaying the mokha artwork made by her mother-in-law, Jhalaiya Biswas. “Many of the homes in our village had been embellished with mokha artwork,” Biswas stated in an interview with World Voices. “Nonetheless, as the standard homes are being changed by concrete homes, now we have just a few homes left with mokha artwork.”

Mokha artwork from Japanese Nepal’s Labipur Village in Sunsari District. Photograph by Sanjib Chaudhary. Used with permission.

“Because the municipality is increasing the highway, the mokha artwork on my home partitions can be taken down,” lamented Kishni Majhi from the identical village.

Because of the cumbersome course of of constructing mokha artwork and the painstaking effort required to take care of the wall artwork — many artists need to reapply the colors quite a few occasions yearly — many households are taking down the artwork and going for easy brick partitions.

“We are going to maintain sustaining the mokha artwork in our home,” stated Hom Narayan Chaudhary from Duhabi, Sunsari. “Nonetheless, we’re unsure whether or not our kids would maintain them intact.”

Not solely do the homes in Labipur face these threats of extinction, however a lot of the Tharu conventional village homes in Nepal’s southern plains are awaiting the identical destiny. With out satisfactory measures taken to safeguard this beautiful Tharu folks artwork, it’s destined to vanish without end.

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