Pattachitra ~ Orissa

Pattachitra is a Sanskrit term used for traditional, cloth-based scroll painting. Based in and around Puri,  Konark and Bhubaneshwar region especially in the village of Raghurajpur, Odisha. In the Sanskrit language, ‘Patta’ means ‘cloth’ and ‘Chitra’ means ‘picture’. Most of these paintings depict stories of Hindu deities and especially inspired by Jagannath and Vaishnava sect. The painting ‘Pattachitra’ resemble the old murals of Odisha especially religious centres of Puri, Konark and Bhubaneshwar region, dating back to the 5th century BC. The best work is found in and around Puri, especially in the village of Raghurajpur.


Pattachitra painters are known as ‘Chitrakar’. Their home and family members make up for his studio. Traditionally, women prepare the glue, the canvas, fill colours, and give the final lacquer coating. The main Chitrakar’s role is to draw the initial lines and give the final finish. Borders are an integral part of Pattachitra painting and they are drawn first on the painting on all four sides of the ‘Patta’ (Canvas) 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 adorned with ornaments and coloured.


Pattachitra on palm leaf is known as a Tala Pattachitra in Oriya. Palm leaf from palm tree is taken and later left to become hard to make ‘Tala’. Hardened leaves are highlighted by black and white inks and sewn together for finally painting ‘Pattachitra’ artwork on it.


Do you know: Some painters still make their paintbrush from the hair bunch of domestic animals by attaching it to a bamboo stick.

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