Krishna as Gopinatha, the Lord of Gopis

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The Srimad Bhagavata mentions the magic of Krishna’s flute, a tiny instrument whose tunes act like cords- extending from Krishna to the heart of his devoted Gopis, pulling them in the direction of Sri Krishna. Upon hearing Kanha play his Bansuri (flute), the women of Vrindavana and Brij were struck by the arrows of love, they leave whatever task they are doing and run, hurriedly, in a reverie, in the direction of the enchanting melody. 

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Item Code: WRB136
Artist: Rabi Behera
Paata painting from OrissaARTIST:RABI BEHERA
Dimensions 12 inch Height X 18 inch Width
Weight: 300 gm
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In this Pattachitra beautifully outlined by graceful vines, Sri Krishna is sitting under a tree, his flute in his hand, glowing like the full moon. One of the gopis is lying dreamily on his extended leg, contended to have reached the lap of her beloved. Three other gopis appeared to have just arrived- the one in the front with a pretty flower as an offering in her hand, the one blue saree with a floral garland in one hand and a plate of flowers in another, and the last one empty-handed. What does it matter? Krishna arrived in the human realm, not for gifts and offerings, but for the delight that is in the shower of pure love of the gopis. A pair of deer- symbolizing unconditional love sit near Krishna- allegorical to the affection of the gopis for the dark-skinned lord. The Gopis forever have Krishna etched in their thoughts, he is the sole focus of their attention and the desired fruit of their actions. This constant relishing of the Gopis in the thoughts of Krishna and Krishna’s reciprocation of their affections is the essence of Rasa- the act of savoring the nectar of love for the divine.  

Mastering the Ancient Technique: Exploring the Meticulous Creation of Pattachitra Paintings

The traditional Pattachitra is a scroll painting that is done on cloth. This is revealed in the name; Pattachitra is a Sanskrit term made from two words i.e. Patta meaning cloth and Chitra meaning picture. The main subject of this painting is portraying Hindu mythological narratives, scenes from religious texts, and folktales. Pattachitra paintings are especially practiced in eastern Indian states such as West Bengal and Odisha, and also in some parts of Bangladesh. This art form is closely related to Shri Jagannath and the tradition of the Vaishnava sect. It is believed that Pattachitra art originated in the 11th century and the people of Odisha practice it even today without any discrepancy. Bengalis use these scroll paintings for ritual purposes (as a visual device) during the performance of a song or Aarti.
Pattachitra paintings are characterized by creative and traditional motifs/designs, decorative borders, and bright colorful applications. The outline of the figure and motifs are bold and sharp. Some common shapes and motifs seen in these paintings are trees, flowers, leaves, elephants, and other creatures. The artists of Odisha and Bengal still use the traditional method of painting which gives a unique look to it altogether.

1. Canvas is prepared

The process of painting a Pattachitra begins by preparing the canvas (patta). Generally, cotton cloth is used for making the canvas. The local artists dip the cotton cloth in a mixture of tamarind seeds and water for a few days. The cloth is then taken out and dried in the sun. Now natural gum is applied over it to stick another layer of cotton cloth on it. Thus a thick layer of cotton cloth is formed. This layered cotton is sun-dried and a paste of chalk powder, tamarind, and gum is applied on both sides. The surface of the cloth is then rubbed with two different stones for smoothening and it is again dried. This process gives the cloth a leathery finish and it is now ready to be painted.

2. Natural colors are made using traditional method

The painters prepare and use vegetable and mineral colors for application in the painting. White color is made from conch shells, black is made by burning coconut shells, Hingula is used for red color, Ramaraja for blue, and Haritala for yellow.

3. Colors are filled in

The artist now makes a double-lined border on all four sides of the canvas. The local artists are so expert in painting that they do not draw figures and motifs with pencil but directly draw them with a brush. The paint brushes that the painters use are made of the hair of domestic animals, a bunch of which is tied to the end of a bamboo stick. The figures are now painted with natural colors using the indigenous brushes. The outline is thickened with black color.

4. Painting is given a finishing

Finally, the painting is varnished/glazed to protect it from any damage and to get a glossy shine on the surface.

The making of a Pattachitra is laborious work and therefore, one painting may sometimes take over a month to complete. Due to their classical look, these paintings are admired by people from all over the world. The artistic skills used in Pattachitra are passed down from one generation to another and thus are preserved to date.
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