Patachitra or the icon paintings of Orissa occupy an important status among the many art forms centered around the temple of Puri. For the painted surface, the chitrakar community of painters utilises a gauze like fine cotton cloth, coated with a cooked solution of powdered tamarind seed, chalk and gum and subsequently smoothened. The paintings are executed primarily in profile with highly elongated eyes within a floral border. There are few landscapes and the scenes are depicted in a foreground closely juxtaposed together. Highly stylized paintings of the Puri temple and scenes from the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, figure along with the predominant painting of Lord Jagannath, a form of Krishna, with his older brother Balarama and sister Subhadra. Patachitra paintings frequently feature mythical tales, religious icons, and rural life as their topics. Patachitra Paintings have great cultural and religious importance in addition to being stunning to look at.
Q1. What is special about Pattachitra painting?
Pattachitra or Patta
paintings come from the Eastern Indian state of Odisha, where their origin can
be traced back to the 5th century CE. Pattachitra paintings are scroll
paintings that represent gods and goddesses,
legends from Indian mythology, and Oriya folktales. Traditionally made on palm
leaves and then on cloth, Pattachitra in the modern period continues to follow
the customary idiom and techniques used by generations of artists, which gives
this folk art
form its universal appeal.
Q2. How do you identify a Pattachitra painting?
You can identify a
Pattachitra painting through a few unique characteristics of this folk art
form. One, a Pattachitra, as the name suggests, is made on a piece of cloth,
usually silk or cotton. Second, figures and patterns in a Pattachitra are drawn
with a thick black outline, which is then filled with bright colors. Third,
most of the subjects of Pattachitra are religious, ranging from Hindu gods and goddesses to
folklore centered on deities such as Jagannatha, Mahishasuramardini, Sri Krishna,
Q3. Which state is famous for Pattachitra painting?
Pattachitra or “cloth
painting” comes from the East Indian state of Odisha, where it is practiced by
painters living in the temple town of Puri, Raghurajpur, villages such as
Pratapapur, Itamati, Dasapalla, Chandanpur, Bankatara, Karada Gada, Manpur,
villages in Ganjam district, and Champamal in Western Odisha.
Q4. What do you mean by Patta in Pattachitra painting?
The term “Patta” in
Pattachitra stands for cloth and points at the canvas or base material used for
making the stunning Pattachitra paintings. Cotton, silk, or mixed fabrics are
used by Pattachitra paintings to draw their artworks, earning this folk art
form its name- Patta (cloth) Chitra (painting).
Q5. How are Pattachitra colors made?
The vibrant color
palate of Pattachitra is obtained by folk artists from
natural sources available in their surroundings. For white, sea shells are
used, black is gathered from the soot collected in a utensil placed above a
burning lamp, leaves or green colored stones are used for green shades, a stone
called rajabarta is grounded for the blue color, and similarly red and yellow
are obtained from stones available in these shades. The material is then mixed
with the glue of Kaitha or Bilwa fruit and sun-dried. The dry substance is
grounded and used as the material for filling colors in a traditional
Q6. What is the meaning of Pattachitra?
Pattachitra is made
from two terms- Pata meaning cloth and Chitra meaning painting. Thus,
Pattachitra stands for the paintings which are done on a scroll of cloth.
Q7. How can you tell if a painting is original?
To determine whether
or not a painting is
original, you can check the canvas to get a feel of the texture of natural
colors, which feel a bit coarse and sticky to the touch. You can also observe
the artwork to see if it follows the traditional style of Pattachitra
paintings. Besides, you should always purchase Pattachitra paintings online
from a trusted and well-established source to ensure the artwork delivered to
you is original.
Q8. Who invented Pattachitra art?
Pattachitra art of
Odisha is practiced traditionally for generations by the Chitrakara or artisan
class, who are located in different towns and villages across Odisha. The
origin of Chitrakara as a group has been narrated in the Brahmavaivarta
Purana, which links them to Vishwakarma,
the celestial architect.
Q9. Is Pattachitra a tribal art?
are characterized as folk art or the art of people belonging to a particular
community or group of people who practice the art form and are identified as
the keepers of that art, who derive their livelihood from practicing said art.
Tribal art, on the other hand, is an aspect of the life of a tribe, which is
distinguished from the rest based on their beliefs, practices, and culture,
which they reflect in their art.
Q10. Is Pattachitra a craft?
The difference between
art and craft in the Indian artistic milieu is defined by a blurred line that
becomes even more unclear when it comes to folk art, which performs the dual
function of being an aesthetic experience (art) and serving a defined goal
(craft). As an art, Pattachitra expresses certain ideas through its forms and
colors, and as a craft, it comes from the handiwork of a well-trained person,
who has undergone teaching for that craft. Thus, we can say that Pattachitra is
both an art and a craft.
Q11. What is the durability of Pattachitra?
A Pattachitra painter
upon completing a Pattachitra painting treats the artwork by placing it over a
fire and applying a layer of lacquer on it. The resultant artwork becomes
highly resistant to decay that comes with time and retains its colors, shine,
and aesthetic appeal for centuries.
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