Pattachitra style of painting is one of the oldest and most popular art forms practiced majorly in Odisha and West Bengal. The name Pattachitra has evolved from the Sanskrit word ‘patta’, meaning cloth, and ‘chitra’, meaning picture. This art form is believed to have originated as early as the 12th century and is one of the oldest and most famous living art forms.
The Pattachitra artists also known as the chitrakars, predominantly made icon paintings based on the Hindu mythology. The most popular themes are The 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); and Panchamukhi (a depiction of Lord Ganesh as a five-headed deity).
Before painting, the artists prepare the canvas or the “patta” by coating the cloth with a mixture of chalk and gum (made out of tamarind seeds). This mixture is then rubbed into the cloth using two different stones. Finally, the cloth is dried.
Pattachitra is a disciplined form of art and come with a set of rules and restrictions. A floral border is a must in Pattachitra paintings, and so is the use of natural colours, restricting them to a single tone. This creates a distinct look and feel that is typical to Pattachitra and cannot be replicated.
All of the poses of the figures are confined to a few well-defined postures.
The lines are bold and clean, and sharp. Generally, there are no landscapes, perspectives, and distant views. All the incidents are seen in close juxtaposition. The Pattachitra style is a mix of both folk and classical elements.
With the passage of time, the art of Pattachitra has gone through a commendable transition and the chitrakars have painted on palm leaves and tussar silk. Pattachitra are now being painted on sarees, bags, wall hangings and even on showpieces. However, this kind of innovativeness has never proved to be a hindrance in their customary depiction of figures and the use of colours, which has remained intact throughout generations.
At WorldArtCommunity – we are delighted and proud to support and encourage our artistic partners who are working with artisans and craft communities to create fresh and contemporary expressions using the traditional craft. Go ahead and explore the joy of Pattachitra..