Aipan: A Devotional Artform From The Himalayas

Take a scenic journey to the Himalayas to explore Aipan, a traditional Indian ritual and artform practiced by women of the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand to decorate the walls and floors of their homes

A ritual, design and art practice, Aipan comes from the mountainous Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, India where it originated in the 11th century. The patterns, rich with religious, natural and cultural symbolism are made using two natural colours: ochre-red and rice-powder-white.

As Aipan artist and Etsy maker Mamta Joshi explains, “in every household of Kumaon, women draw Aipan to decorate their houses and prayer rooms.” In each drawing, natural motifs like flowers and leaves combine with geometric shapes, with the lines signifying the “glory of life” and dots signifying “the infinite”. These elements together make countless Aipan designs, created for specific ceremonies or invoking different Hindu deities.

Here, Joshi walks us through her favourite Ashtadal Kamal Chowki design, depicting an eight petalled lotus symbolising cosmic harmony. An artist for more than ten years now, she also creates everyday products like cushions and clothing with traditional Aipan designs in an effort to “bring a new identity to Aipan art and spread it worldwide.”

This film featuring Etsy maker Mamta Joshi was produced by Etsy India as part of its commitment to highlight the artists behind the lesser-known Indian artforms on its platform. As a global marketplace for unique and creative goods, Etsy’s mission is to ‘Keep Commerce Human’ and use the power of business and technology to strengthen communities and empower people around the world.