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Goudana: An Extinct ArtTattoo an Embraced Future

As ancient as the oldest of civilizations, the art of tattooing has continued to persist through the ages. A reminiscence of man’s life here on earth, tattooing has been practiced in diverse cultures for varied reasons such as for commemorating the memory of a loved one, as rites for hinder less passage into after-life, as a symbol of spiritual attachment or religion or one’s position in society, for identification and punishment, as well as a sexual lure. In India, tattooing is referred to with many different names but the word most commonly used is ‘Goudana’. The practise of Goudana finds its genesis in Hindu religious mythology and is associated with stories of Gond God, one of the invitees to a dinner arranged by Lord Shiva. While fetching his wife, Gond God accidently put his arm around Parvati Ji, wife of Lord Shiva. The devi (goddess) did not like it and thereafter demanded that the tribal ladies wear a particular kind of mark on their skin to distinguish them from the other castes; with this started the culture of Goudana. There are also other similar stories with Yamraj in Oraon tribe amongst the Mundas, Baigas, Malhars, Singhas, Santhals, the Ho tribe and numerous many. The difference between Tattoo and Goudana is the usual story of after effects of modernization, where one art gets mechanised, evolves, becomes popular and thrives whereas the other, though safe and more therapeutic, witnesses a gradual decline and almost perishes, mainly because of the failure to commercialize it and also due to inadequate support from the government as extended to other arts for their revival. This study is based on my interactions with local Goudana artists during one of my professional excursions to Ranchi, Jharkhand, India. I interviewed the artisans who still practice Goudana and learnt about their induction into the practise, their skills, their techniques, their hardships and the reasons for the decline of Goudana as an art form. The information thus gathered has shaped this research. The script also contains an analysis of primary research data collected from 110 respondents to study the significance and effect of education and the role of gender in creating a preference for and shaping the perceptions around tattooing/Goudana.

Goudana, Tattoo, Oraon, Adivasi, Ornamentation, Pitarmuni, Motifs, and Banjara

APA Style

Kumar Vikas, Chhavi Singh. (2021). Goudana: An Extinct ArtTattoo an Embraced Future. International Journal of Architecture, Arts and Applications, 7(4), 137-142.

ACS Style

Kumar Vikas; Chhavi Singh. Goudana: An Extinct ArtTattoo an Embraced Future. Int. J. Archit. Arts Appl. 2021, 7(4), 137-142. doi: 10.11648/j.ijaaa.20210704.15

AMA Style

Kumar Vikas, Chhavi Singh. Goudana: An Extinct ArtTattoo an Embraced Future. Int J Archit Arts Appl. 2021;7(4):137-142. doi: 10.11648/j.ijaaa.20210704.15

Copyright © 2021 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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