Pattachitra is a Ritualistic Textile of India. It is a scroll, hand painted textile. The word Pattachitra originated from a Sanskrit word. Patta means “a piece of cloth” or “a piece of palm leaf (talapatra)” and Chitra meaning “picture”. They cut the palm leaf into stripes and stitched together with fine needle. This tradition is linked with worship of lord Jagannath.
A scene from Ramayana
Pattachitra of Lord Jagannath
These paintings are executed by traditional caste known as “CHITRAKARS” ,who have been painting murals on temple walls. Raghurajpur and Dandasahi are the villages involved in producing these paintings . Chandanpur is the place where these paintings are sold. The Origin is linked with famous Jagannath temple of Puri which was built by Choda-GangaDeva. These Paintings were traditionally done only by males.
I God Jagannath of Puri with brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra
Raw Materials Used
Patta – a piece of cloth or a piece of palm leaf Tamarind Seeds Chalk Powder Gheru is used for temporary marking(can get washed away) Gum resin Brushes are made of the hair of domestic animals Organic or natural colors.
Vermilion – Bingol stone A brick red –Geru Yellow – Baritali Black – lamp black Indigo – Haritala White – Conch shell
Mineral Based Colours are used (adhesives are added) Temporary Colours, not to be washed. It is a very Tedious process. Tools Used : Coconut shells are used as containers. Brushes are locally made. Grinding Stones to make powders from rocks for colors.
Coconut Shells as containers
Preparation Of Patta
Preparation Of Pigments
Crushing of tamarind seeds. Tamarind paste (acts as antiseptic) Application of paste on first layer of the fabric. Application of paste on the second layer of fabric. Patta left for drying. Polishing of Patta. Ready for painting. Time consumed: Average painting takes a week whereas more intricate ones take a month’s time.
The Ancient technique
Palm leaf engraving, talpatra or dried palm leaves are used. They are cut into strips and stitched together with a fine needle. The complete etching is then rubbed over with leaves and black paint. In this it is believed, nature merges with the divine.
Life in Puri revolves around the temple of lord Jaganath-art of Jaganath cult.(“Lord of the World”). One of the massive festivals known as Devasnana Purnima where chitrakara plays a major role. During which in a grand procession a ceremonial bath is given to the deities by pouring water on the images. Thereafter they fall sick and kept away from public view for 15days.
This is where Chitrakaras majorly come into action. Chitrakaras paints the substitute icons, called Anasara Pati. The making of which begins on Akshaya Thritiya. The canvas come from the temple, pujas are performed and once completed Anasara Payi is rolled and tied with the black cloth. Pati is now carried by Chitrakara in a ceremonial procession. Other major festival is the Rath Yatra. The Chitrakaras engage themselves in painting of walls of various temples and mathas.
What makes the art stand by itself?
The extraordinary system of line formation. The fantastic pictorial concepts. The idiosyncratic conventions. The vibrant use of colors.
Jaganath and the triad of deities. Episodes from the Hindu epics. Themes related to the worship of various gods and...