Intangible Cultural Heritage

The forgotten art of kaavi from Goa - India



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Heta Pandit

Goa Heritage Action Group

MEMORIAMEDIA Review 2. Art.5. 2017


 photo: Heta Pandit



Goa, located on the west coast of India, has made many contributions to art and architecture. One of the least documented components of intangible elements is the architectural art form of kaavi, a form of etching rendered on walls of temples and Hindu homes. The material used in the art form is fine red soil, charcoal powder and a natural binding plant extract from the liana creeper. This art defines a sacred space on interiors and exteriors of the walls of a temple or home. As it is rendered on the walls of a temple or home its status and survival is linked with the physical status of the structure itself. No systematic documentation of kaavi art has been carried out so far. Considering the intangible elements, does not seem to have any artists who practise kaavi art, there is no single community of artists in Goa. The knowledge of how the materials were chosen, the tools fashioned and employed has all been lost.


Keywords:Goa; India; Kaavi; Art Endangered.