Ethnic Craft from India —- Pattachitra


    BY:    Kasturi Mishra
India is called as a mysterious land in the world, likewise Orissa (one of the provinces of India) is famous for its beaches, temples and crafts. Famous for the beauty and craftsmanship of Konark, Jagannath, Lingaraja and innumerable other temples, Orissa owns a striking selection of decorative and utilitarian arts and crafts which still lives in the creative imagination and skill of her craftsmen. Orissa has been rightly called Utkala or the land of exquisite arts. Pattachitra (an ethnic art form) defines Orissa best with its aesthetic value of Odissi culture and tradition.


The earliest indigenous paintings from Orissa are, the Pattachitra done by the Chitrakars (the painters of pattachitra are called Chitrakars). They do not belong to any particular place but the district of Puri has the highest concentration of Chitrakars.

Language of Pattachitra

The word Patta is a Sanskrit word meaning canvas and Chitra meaning picture. This art form is defined by its rich use of colour, its creative motifs and designs, and its portrayal of pure and simple themes. Hindu mythological themes revolve around pattachitra art form and mostly deal with stories from Mahabharata, Ramayana and legends concerning Radha and Krishna, Lord Jagannath and other popular legends. But the most popular is the depiction of  200px-Patta_Chitra_03  Sri.Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra, the Divine triad or Sri. Jagannath Patti. Borders are an integral part of the painting and this is drawn first on the painting on all the four sides of the patta consisting of two or three lines according to the size of the painting. The outlines of the figures are drawn first with very thin lines in white. The body colours are then added followed by colouring the attires. The figures are then adored with ornaments and coloured. Outlines of other motifs are then thickened with a thick brush with black colour. Then small and fine decorative motifs are painted in white. It is interesting to note that the chitrakar begins his painting with the colour white and ends with it too. The eyeballs are the last to be inserted on the painting. Sometimes a painting is done only in black and white. With perfect mastery over fine line drawing, the Chitrakars make the paintings come alive with their skill and workmanship.

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