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Subika Painting

Subika Painting:

Manipur boasts a rich cultural heritage but some of its invaluable art forms like Subika Paintings are on the brink of extinction due to neglect.

  • Subika Paintings is a style of painting which is intricately linked to the Meitei community’s cultural history.
  • It is surviving through its six manuscripts — Subika, Subika Achouba, Subika Laishaba, Subika Choudit, Subika Cheithil and Thengrakhel Subika.
  • Although the royal chronicle, Cheitharol Kumbaba, doesn’t mention a specific founder, there is a possibility that this art form existed when the writing tradition was introduced in the state.
  • Experts estimate the use of Subika paintings since the 18th or 19th century.
  • The painting of Subika Laisaba is a composition of cultural motifs made by pre-existing features and other influences stimulated by their cultural worldviews.
  • Among the six manuscripts, Subika Laishaba represents a direct and authentic continuation of the Meitei cultural tradition depicted through visual images.
  • The illustrations of Subika Laishaba have visual language from the elements such as lines, shapes, forms, colours, and patterns.
  • These visual images become Meitei’s cultural motif, and structure to create visual effects as well as express cultural significance, meaning and values.
  • The visual images found in this manuscript are painted on handmade paper.
  • It is also found that the materials of manuscripts are prepared indigenously either handmade paper or barks of trees.