This almost magical 500-year old art tradition can be found in several parts of India, including Rajasthan. Traditional storytellers or Kavadia carried ‘god boxes’ or foldable shrines, holding Hindu epics within their bellies. The richly decorated Kavad or cupboard held two dimensional painted narratives from the Ramayana and other mythological tales in panels within them. The Kavads offered a kind of informal education to villages that were devoid of schools. The narratives were painted almost like comic strips, with vividly colored characters and several unfolding hinged panels.
Entire families of artisans came together to create these story boxes. These families would travel with the main narrator or sutradhar bringing stories to remote hamlets. The storyteller would face the audience standing by his Kavad for a colorful rendition of Hindu myths. The stories unfolded in delectable stages with all the fanfare of a show. The outer panels would be opened and the key highlights of the story told, but all was not revealed. After this teaser trailer, the Kavadia would open a drawer for donations and when he had earned enough coins he would begin his telling, revealing the many narratives within. These performances could last several days with the host village providing boarding and lodging to the visiting artisans.
Colour: Brown Size: Set of 6 coasters With the trademark story-telling style of Kavad, these quirky coasters feature a bright and colourful animal set. They have been hand-painted on wood.
Colour: Red Size: 11"x8" (inches) Here is springtime in a box. On the advent of spring or saavan, Indian girls, bedeck themselves in yellow in celebration of the blossoming of yellow mustard fields. As spring blossom everywhere, swings are hitched to trees and the girls break into song. This lovely Kavad box with its evocative decoration, can add a cheery...
Colour: Blue Size: 10"x10" (inches) A blushing bride is escorted by a king and her palanquin bearers on this lovely blue box. Painted in characteristic style by a Kavad craftsmen, it is made out of wood. A lovely little gift for someone’s special day.
Colour: Red Size: 10 inches Here is a vibrant Kavad piece with a message. Talking of educating girls just like the boys, it offers a beautifully illustrated Hindi alphabet within its wooden pages.
Colour: Red and Yellow Size: 10 inches Like a book in a box, this colorful Kavad brings a modern tale to an ancient art. It showcases story of Meena from a village who helps her mother in the household chores and goes to school. She studies hard to top her school and for higher education gets and opportunity to go...
Colour : Red Size: 10 inches Capturing a local folktale about a hunter and a deer, this brightly hued Kavad piece will look wonderful in your home. Unfold it’s wooden pages and watch the story emerge.
Colour: Orange Size: 4"x4" (inches) This bright little bauble box in cheery orange invites you to hide tiny treasures within it. The dancing peacock on it’s lid makes it perfect for preening. It is made out of wood in characteristic Kavad style by a traditional craftsmen.
Colour: Red and Cream Size: 4"x4" (inches) A queen and her king, sit relaxing together on the lid of this lovely Kavad style box. A ‘him and her’ gift if there ever was one.