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PATTACHITRA ART FORM

Posted on April 08 2015

Orissa – the land of the Mahanadi and the Chilka Lake...the land of Jagannath temple and the Konark...the land of Oddissi and the land of the Rasagulla! Orissa a state in the eastern region of India is a gamut of cultural richness. From its various art forms to rich literature, from its diverse and mouth watering delicacies to its rustic folk...it is a land of great heritage.

Of its many art forms, a popular craft is the Pattachitra. Pattachitra is a popular form of scroll painting done on cloth. Patta literally means cloth and chitra picture. Beautiful paintings inspired by Hindu mythology are depicted on cloth and stand as one of the oldest and most popular art forms of this state. This tradition dates back to more than a thousand years.

The depictions are mainly inspired by Lord Jagannath – one of the forms of Lord Vishnu. He is widely worshipped in the eastern region of India. Also, Lord Krishna is portrayed often in Pattachitra paintings.

The paintings are done with very vibrant colours made from natural dyes. The designs and motifs used around the deity are very intricate and beautiful. The themes in the paintings are very simple and almost always revolve around mythology. The painters are called as ‘chitrakar’ meaning painter.

The paintings also resemble the old murals of temple towns situated in Orissa – Puri, Konark and Bhubneshwar. The paintings are a mix of classical as well as folk forms, mainly leaning towards folk.

The Pattachitra paintings are made by the chitrakaras family. Usually the woman of the family prepares the canvas by applying a mixture of chalk and gum, made of tamarind seeds, on a cotton cloth. It gives the cloth a leathery feel. Once the cloth is ready, the man of the family outlines the illustration. The filling of colours is again done by the women and at the end the man gives the final touches to the painting. At the end the painting is given a lacquer coating to protect it from exposure of open air.

The colours used are more of basic Indian colours – red, yellow, orange and blue. For certain things there are fixed colours like Lord Krishna is always painted in blue and his Gopis in pink, purple or brown.

Pattachitra paintings are yet another leaf in the rich cultural heritage of India. These paintings are widely appreciated as artefacts across the world.

Often designers use them in sarees and lehengas. Home decor items like cushions, bed sheets, wallpapers also adorn Pattachitra paintings.

Some interesting illustrations of the paintings are...

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