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Cherial Scrolls: An Indian Storytelling Tradition

  • March 20, 2009
  • Maya
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Since today is World Storytelling Day, we thought we would share a few of the wonderful storytelling traditions that India has.

Cherial (or Cheriyal) scrolls are made in a place called Cherial/Cheriyal which is located in the Warangal district in the state of Andhra Pradesh. These traditional scroll paintings are used as visual aids for the storytelling traditions in the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. Bards would travel from one village to another with these scrolls and sing about the stories painted on these scrolls.

Via Warangal

…it illustrates the origin of a particular community and tells stories of their heroes. Thus, each community of Telangana has its own stories narrated with the help of dolls and masks. The colours used in scroll painting are bright, while the materials are biodegradable. And the background is always red.

Via mapsofindia

This traditional art form are inseparable part of the profession of the story telling community known as Kaki Padagollu. They utilize the scroll paintings as visual aids to tell their stories.

The Kaki Padagollu present their stories to different communities with the help of the Cherial Scroll paintings, which includes mythological stories from Madelu Puranam, Ramayanam, Gowda Pudanam and Mahabharatam. Each scroll can run into several meters.

Via ekdesh

Popular (and APTourism) belief is that the Cheriyal Scrolls depict stories from the Puranas and other Hindu legends and thrived primarily under the patronage of the Kakatiyas of Warangal.

But from what I had read about them, the scrolls seemed to have been more than just that. At one time, these scrolls used to be a very important part of the sociological and cultural milieu of Telengana (modern day districts of Karimnagar, Warangal, Mahbubnagar, Medak and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh). And painted to narrate legends about the origin of a particular caste and the heroic deeds of one of its legendary heroes.

Some of the scrolls did depict episodes from Hindu mythology, but as is typical of India’s cultural mosaic, the heroes of the caste in question were painted into the narrative through the brush strokes of the artist.

As is also typical of the great Indian tradition of storytelling, these scrolls were used as a visual aid by picture storyteller minstrels, usually to the accompaniment of folk songs and music.

Do you know more about Cherial scrolls or a similar tradition?

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54 Comments

  1. milan's gallery March 20, 2009

    You can experience with patacitra of West Bengal

    Reply
  2. raki September 7, 2010

    cherial fock painting is a wonderful art. cherial is a village in warangal district and it is nearer to hyderabad capital of andhra pradesh. cherial is located 100km from hyderabad.

    Reply
  3. Abhi June 8, 2011

    Oh! I found one good blog after a long time.
    Nice one.

    Reply
  4. gmat1984 June 8, 2011

    Ya.. its really nice..You made a beautiful presentation.. Thanks

    Reply
  5. Anuradha Goyal August 22, 2011

    I recently visited Cherial and met the artist himself, who explained the paintings, their genesis and the currents state.

    -Anu
    http://anuradhagoyal.blogspot.com

    Reply
    1. Deeksha Sharma January 22, 2016

      Hi,

      I work for an online art gallery called WallsnArt. We are working on a project in Hyderabad which requires Cheriyal Paintings.
      Do you know someone who can help us in this project. Contact details are in the signature.

      Thanks,
      Deeksha Sharma
      +91-9871030114

    2. madhu merugoju November 17, 2017

      Hi this is MADHU MERUGOJU
      cherial painting artist
      My contact number 09848581044.

  6. Maya August 22, 2011

    @Anuradha – Did you meet Mr.Nageshwar Rao and his family? Saw some of his work in Madras. Hoping to read about your visit on your blog.

    Reply
    1. Deeksha Sharma January 22, 2016

      Hi,

      I work for an online art gallery called WallsnArt. We are working on a project in Hyderabad which requires Cheriyal Paintings.
      Do you know someone who can help us in this project. Contact details are in the signature.

      Thanks,
      Deeksha Sharma
      +91-9871030114

  7. Krishna Kumar Jasthi July 14, 2012

    The credit for rediscovering the cherial scroll painting goes to my father Late Shri Jasthi Ramaiah, in the early 70's. He was then Assistant Director of HMSEC ( Handicrafts Marketing and service extension Center ) Govt. Of India . He had heard about this art form and had seen a scroll at Calico Museum in Ahmedabad and was told that it was from Andhrapradesh. after musch effort, He located Mr. Nakash Chandriah, who was then pursuing tailoring as a profession (if my memory serves me right), commissioned a scroll; I think it was 'gauda puranam ' and later encouraged him to pursue his traditional craft as a profession. Found market for him through state emporias. Sent him abroad on govt. programs to showcase his art. Since chandriah lived in cherial, the art form was named cherial scrolls, as the traditional name for which could not be ascertained. Traditionally the kaki padugollu , the village bards were the ones who used to commission these scrolls from The nakash painters. Nageshwara Rao is Chandriah's son. VAikuntam nakash is his brother. I should also mention about another Cherial Artist , who at an young age of about 35 died of heart attack. He was one the finest painters of this style. Krishna Kumar Jasthi

    Reply
    1. madhu merugoju March 23, 2015

      Hi
      I'm MADHU, Cherial scroll painting artist.
      For more details contact on
      09848581044.

  8. krishna kumar jasthi July 14, 2012

    The young artist's name was also Chandriah.

    Reply
    1. madhu merugoju August 31, 2015

      Yes, he is my brother and my name is MADHU merugoju

    2. madhu merugoju August 31, 2015

      Yes, he is my brother and my name is MADHU merugoju

    3. madhu merugoju August 31, 2015

      Yes, he is my brother and my name is MADHU merugoju

  9. Maya July 16, 2012

    @Krishna Kumar Jasthi – Thank you for this information.

    Reply
  10. cherial paintings May 11, 2014

    This is Rakesh nakash an artisan of cherial paintings.presently we are staying in hyderabad only, for more information about cherial painting please visit vaikuntamnakash.blogspot.com

    Reply
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