Pattachitra Art - Odisha

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 2, 2022, 7:05

India is home to numerous art forms and cultures, all of which represent the massive diversity that the nation stands for. Each art form is so unique from the other, yet they capture the essence of the region so beautifully. One such traditional art form from the South-Eastern part of the country is the Pattachitra Art. This could be painting, dance, music, sculptures, and so on.

What is Pattachitra Art?

Pattachitra painting, or Pattachitra Art, is a traditional painting style that has its roots in Odisha, India. Etymologically speaking, Pattachitra means picture or painting on cloth, paper, and palm leaves which is how this art form is practised.

This 3000-year-old art form is also practised on paper, and the artists spend several hours creating the hand-painting depicting songs, stories, and folklore from Odisha. Besides being popular as a ritual and historical storytelling, a lot of people consider it to be a great souvenir to take back from their trip to Puri.

Pattachitra Art Origin

The theme of the Pattachitra Art form is usually based on Hindu mythology and is among one the oldest art forms that are still in practice in Odisha.

Dating back to the 12th century, it is one of the oldest and most popular art forms from the Indian sub-continent. Researchers and subject matter experts believe that this art form marks the origin of the Patta style of art that is popular today.

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Popular Themes of Pattachitra Art

Pattachitra Art is usually centred around the themes of the Jagannath and the Vaishnava sect and the various avatars of Lord Krishna. Besides narrating the stories of Lord Krishna and his incarnations, it also has flowers, foliages, and other elements from nature on the canvas. Ganjapa is a Pattachitra painting which captures the social themes, whereas Yamapati and yatripatas include paintings of the Puri temple. Saiva, Ragachitras, Shakta, and Navagunjar focus on the avtars of Lord Krishna.

To conclude, the artists who create the Pattachitra Art work as a family where the men or the primary artist create the outline of the painting on small strips of cotton cloth. Whereas the women work on preparing the glue, the canvas, and filling the paintings with colours. To give the canvas a leathery finish, they rub it with a mixture of chalk and tamarind seeds.

Besides being popular in the Odisha household for rituals and worship, it is also a popular gift, souvenir, and keepsake for people travelling to these regions.

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FAQs on Pattachitra Art

Q.1. What Makes Pattachitra Art Special?

The intricate details in the handmade paintings narrating the Hindu mythological tales elaborately on cloth set Pattachitra Art apart from the rest of the art forms in the country.

Q.2. What Colours Are Used in Pattachitra Art?

The traditional Pattachitra Art uses only a few colours like red, green, yellow, black, white, and indigo. In the Pattachitra paintings, artists, use colours from conch shells for white and Hingulal stone to create the colour red. These hues are combined to create the magic on canvas and tell the tales of the land-based on the theme the painter has selected.

Q.3. Who Invented Pattachitra Art?

These paintings are usually painted by people belonging to the Mahapatra or maharanas caste who are spread across the cities of Odisha and West Bengal. Pattachitra Art was created as an alternative to the statues of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra. This made it possible for the devotees to worship their favourite deities at home without having to make space for huge and heavy statues.

Q.4. Who Is the Most Popular Pattachitra Artist?

Raghunath Mohapatra is one of the most popular Pattachitra Artists, sculptors, and a Padma Shri awardee. Besides being a popular Pattachitra Artist, he is also famous for creating a six-foot-tall sculpture of the sun god.

Q.5. What Are the Common Elements in the Pattachitra Art?

Besides a great mix of classical and folk art, Pattachitra Art also has elements of Mughal influence in it.