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BEASTS OF INDIA by Kanchana Arni


edited by Kanchana Arni & Gita Wolf

Pub Date: June 15th, 2018
ISBN: 978-93-83145-58-4
Publisher: Tara Publishing

An Indian import, this art book functions as an introduction to a variety of traditional art forms from the Indian subcontinent.

Pictures of animals are printed on brightly colored handmade paper on the recto, and the names of the animal and the art form are printed on the bottom of the verso. All the animals pictured are native to India: tigers, lions, bulls, snakes, crocodiles, monkeys, dogs, and elephants. By grouping the animals together—for instance, all the tigers appear together, followed by the lions, and so on—the book actively encourages comparisons among different forms of Indian folk art. An index at the end of the book provides readers with more information regarding the art style, the artist, and where the art originates. The tiger printed in the Pithora tribal art style, for example, is adapted from the original by the artist Paresh Ratva. The style is described as a “Ritual decorative art form, painted on the walls of houses, using natural earth colors”; it is native to the Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat. The variations in line, palette, and level of realism are broad, giving readers a good sense of the vigor and diversity of Indian folk art. Although beautifully crafted, however, it is more an artifact than a traditional picture book. Each book is one of a limited printing of 3,000 and includes a framable print.

Lovely, but for art enthusiasts and book collectors more than for child readers.

(Picture book. 8-adult)