Cyclon Fani has damaged many pieces of Pattachitra paintings. Pattachitra style of painting is one of the oldest and most popular art forms of Odisha.
Some of the popular themes represented through this art form are Thia Badhia – a depiction of the temple of Jagannath; Krishna Lila – an enactment of Jagannath as Lord Krishna displaying his powers as a child; Dasabatara Patti – the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu; Panchamukhi – depiction of Lord Ganesh as a five-headed deity.
Pattachitra painting is a traditional form of scroll painting that originated in the state of Odisha, India. The name “Pattachitra” is derived from the Sanskrit words “patta” (cloth) and “chitra” (painting), as these artworks are typically created on cloth. Here are some key features and information about Pattachitra painting:
- Origin and History: Pattachitra painting has a rich history dating back several centuries. It has its roots in the region of Odisha and is believed to have originated around the 5th century AD. The art form evolved in the context of religious and cultural practices, with themes predominantly focused on Hindu mythology and folk tales.
- Themes and Subjects: Pattachitra paintings often depict mythological stories from Hindu epics like the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Puranas. They also portray scenes from the life of Lord Krishna, the ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu (Dashavatara), and various local folk tales. The intricate details and narrative compositions in Pattachitra’s artworks bring these stories to life.
- Technique and Style: Pattachitra paintings are characterized by their intricate line work, vibrant colours, and detailed ornamentation. The artists use natural colours derived from minerals, stones, and plants, which are carefully mixed and applied to create stunning visual effects. The paintings are executed with great precision and involve meticulous brushwork.
- Materials and Tools: Traditionally, Pattachitra paintings are created on cloth or specially prepared handmade paper known as “patta.” The artists use natural pigments and dyes, such as vegetable and mineral colours, mixed with natural glues to create their palette. The brushes used for painting are made from animal hair or plant fibres, and fine detailing is often done using a thin bamboo stick.
- Techniques and Process: The creation of a Pattachitra painting involves multiple stages. The cloth or patta is first treated with a mixture of chalk and tamarind seed paste to make it smooth and stiff. The outlines of the composition are then drawn using a pencil or charcoal. Next, the colours are applied, starting with lighter shades and gradually moving to darker tones. The final step involves adding intricate details, borders, and embellishments.
- Regional Variations: Pattachitra painting has regional variations within Odisha, with different styles associated with specific villages and artist communities. Some notable regional styles include the Raghurajpur Pattachitra, which is known for its intricate designs and use of precious metals like gold and silver, and the Manjusha Pattachitra, which employs a box-like structure to depict multiple scenes in a single painting.
- Cultural Significance: Pattachitra painting holds significant cultural and religious value in Odisha. It is considered a sacred art form and is often used in temple rituals, processions, and religious ceremonies. These paintings also serve as a means of storytelling and preserving cultural heritage, passing down traditional narratives and artistic techniques from one generation to the next.
- Contemporary Adaptations: While Pattachitra’s painting retains its traditional essence, contemporary artists have also experimented with the art form, incorporating new themes and techniques. Modern adaptations may depict contemporary subjects, and social issues, or reflect the personal style and interpretation of the artist.
Pattachitra painting is recognized for its intricate craftsmanship, vivid storytelling, and cultural significance. It continues to be cherished as a vibrant form of artistic expression and a valuable part of Odisha’s cultural heritage.