15+ Easy Malayalam Art Vocabulary For You


Are you on a journey to learn the arts of the world and have your sights on Keralan art? Well, learning about Malayalam art vocabulary must be on your list! Imagine stepping into a world where colors dance with words, where brushstrokes sing symphonies, and where creativity knows no bounds.

This linguistic journey of learning Malayalam vocabulary doesn’t just focus on art though. We’ll have a glimpse of their culture as well. Moreover, we’ll talk about what traditional art forms there are in Kerala and Malayalam words for painting, sculpture, etc. Sounds good? Let’s start!

Malayalam Traditional Art Forms

Let us first tackle the traditional art forms of Kerala, specifically the significant ones, and what they are called. The traditional arts of Kerala have their exclusive meanings, and they are all related to culture! So this is the perfect way to upsize your Malayalam vocabulary.

Dance Arts

Kerala has a huge dance culture that is evident from its many dance forms, whether they be classical or folk. Let’s take a look at some of those dance forms.

Kathakali (കഥകളി)

Kathakali is an enchanting classical dance from Kerala, India. It’s a storytelling spectacle where characters express themselves through music, intricate hand gestures, and elaborate makeup. Drawing from Hindu mythology and epics, it’s like a live-action epic movie on stage. A Kathakali performance can last up to 8 hours, taking you on a mesmerizing journey through Kerala’s culture and legends. It’s a must-see when in Kerala!


Mohiniyattam (മോഹിനിയാട്ടം)

Picture this—a dance as graceful as a swaying palm tree in the Kerala breeze. That’s Mohiniyattam, a classical dance from Kerala, India. It’s a beautiful story told through delicate footwork, fluid moves, and expressive faces.

But here’s the twist: It’s not just any story, it’s about the Hindu god Vishnu turning into the enchantress Mohini to save the universe! Mohiniyattam dancers are like poetry in motion, and their music is a blend of tradition and modernity.

So, if you want to experience a dance that’s a perfect blend of elegance and mythology, Mohiniyattam is your ticket to the enchanted world of Indian classical dance!

Thiruvathirakali (തിരുവാതിരകളി)

Imagine a dance that’s not just for fun but also for everlasting love! In Kerala, on Lord Shiva’s birthday, women gather to perform this unique dance, seeking blessings for happy marriages. According to Hindu mythology, this dance brought the God of Love, Kamadeva, back to life after Lord Shiva’s fury turned him into ashes. So, Thiruvathirakali is not just a dance, it’s a dance of love and legend!

Martial Arts

Kalarippayattu (കളരിപ്പയറ്റ്) is the face of Malayalam martial arts. Think of it as the ancient martial arts playground of Kerala. It’s so old, it’s practically the grandma of all martial arts! But here’s the highlight of this art: Kalaripayattu isn’t just about fists and kicks. It’s a martial art extravaganza! The learners master reflexes and weapons like sticks, daggers, and even swords, with some jaw-dropping acrobatics thrown in. Plus, it’s all inspired by the fierce grace of animals in battle! It reminds me of a League of Legends character, Udyr.


Ritualistic Art Form

Theyyam (തെയ്യം) is a mesmerizing blend of dance, mime, and music that honors ancient tribal beliefs. Skilled performers transform into heroic figures with breathtaking makeup and intricate costumes. There are more than 400 unique Theyyams, each with its distinct style and story, making it a vibrant celebration of tradition and artistry. From December to April, temples in Kannur and Kasaragod host these awe-inspiring performances, drawing massive crowds to witness this captivating cultural spectacle.

Performing Arts

Now let’s take a look at some of the performing art forms of Kerala.

Koodiyattam (കൂടിയാട്ടം)

Koodiyattam means “combined act” in English, and it is slightly similar to a theater play. Here’s how it works: First, you need dedicated performers who undergo years of rigorous training. They bring to life ancient Sanskrit plays through a blend of body expressions, speech, emotions, and intricate costumes.

The performance can last for days, focusing on specific chapters of these timeless tales. What’s more impressive is that Koodiyattam is so remarkable that UNESCO recognizes it as a treasure of human heritage. So, if you’re up for an unforgettable journey into Sanskrit dramas, Koodiyattam is your backstage pass to this world!

Chakyar Koothu (ചാക്യാർ കൂത്ത്)

Last on our list, but not the least, is the Chakyar Koothu. This art form brings Hindu myths to life through acting and hand gestures. This is a one-person show where the performer wears jester-like costumes and makeup—rice powder, turmeric, and all!

What makes this unique is its humor, satire, and social commentary. In the olden days, Chakyar performers could even criticize the king during their acts! Audiences had to take it in stride, or the show could be banned forever. So, Chakyar Koothu isn’t just art, it’s a bold and witty way to celebrate and question tradition!

There are a lot of traditional arts in Kerala. This is just a glimpse of their wide variety, focused mainly on performance and dance arts.

Malayalam Art Vocabulary

Let us talk about other art forms: painting, calligraphy, sculpture, and more. What are they called in the Malayalam language? Let us find out by observing the table below.

EnglishMalayalam Art VocabularyRomanization
Martial Artsയുദ്ധകലYuddhakala
Folk ArtലോകകലLokakala
Traditional Musicപാരമ്പര്യസംഗീതംParamparya Sangitam
Tribal ArtആദിവാസികലAdivasikala
Digital Artഡിജിറ്റൽ ചിത്രകലDigital Chitrakala
Graphic Designഗ്രാഫിക് ഡിസൈൻGraphik design
Contemporary Danceആധുനിക നൃത്തംAdhunika Nritham
Modern Musicആധുനിക സംഗീതംAdhunika Sangitam
Street Artസ്ട്രീറ്റ് ആർട്ട്Streettu Aarttu

Language: A Window For Deeper Art Appreciation

Learning the Malayalam language is a more intimate path to appreciating art. Imagine this: watching a roller coaster on YouTube is different from being on a roller coaster itself. Identically, by learning the native language, there will be a connection and deeper understanding of not only the art but also the culture. What’s more? Well, you will be able to talk to the locals and lay down tons of queries to satisfy your curiosity!

Learn More With The Ling App

Speaking of curiosity, are you worried that learning a language might be boring and hard? Well, not with Ling! Ling has made a groundbreaking app that redefines learning. It makes it fun, just as it should be! Not only does it offer a comprehensive understanding of languages, but it makes them understandable with interactive exercises and practical lessons!

Download the Ling App now on the Play Store or App Store and speak like a Malayali in no time!

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