Pattachitra is a traditional painting of Odisha in eastern India.These paintings are based on Hindu mythology and specially inspired by the local Hindu deity Jagannath and the Vaishnava sect of Odisha. All colours used in these Paintings are natural, and paintings are made fully old traditional way by Chitrakaras that is the local Odiya Painters. Pattachitra style of painting is one of the oldest and most popular art-forms of Odisha.
In Indian classical language Sanskrit, Patta literally means cloth or canvas and Chitra means picture. Most of these paintings depict stories of Hindu deities. Pattachitra is thus a painting done on canvas, and is manifested by rich colourful application, creative motifs, and designs, and portrayal of simple themes, mostly mythological in depiction. The traditions of Pattachitra paintings are more than thousand years old.
Origin & history :
The paintings of Odisha can be divided into three categories : paintings on cloth or ‘Patta Chitra’, paintings on walls or ‘Bhitti Chitra’ and palm leaf paintings or ‘Tala Patra Chitra’ or ‘Pothi Chitra’. The style of all these remains more or less the same.
The Pattachitra paintings 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.
This old tradition of Odia painting still survives in places like Puri, Raghurajpur, Paralakhemundi, Chikiti and Sonepur. Lord Jagannath in the present form is being taken as the origin of the Patta style. The colour schemes of the deities of Puri temple are quite similar to those of the Patta style.
The oldest record of Patta Paintings does not probably go beyond the establishment of the present shrine of Shri Jagannath at Puri. It may be due to the fact that paintings do not survive like sculptures. These paintings were originally substitutes for worship on days when the temple doors were shut for the ritual bath of the deity.
Theme & Style :
The theme of Odia painting centres round the Jagannath and the Vaishnava sect. Since beginning of Pattachitra culture, Lord Jagannath who was an incarnation of Lord Krishna has been the major source of inspiration. The subject matter of Patta Chitra is mostly mythological, religious stories and folk lore. The individual paintings of Hindu gods and goddesses are also being painted.
The themes may be classified into following categories : Jagannath paintings Vaishnava Paintings, Bhagabat paintings, Ramayana paintings, Saiva paintings
Shakta paintings, Ragachitras, Bandhachitra, Yamapati and Yatripatas (sketches of puri temple), Ganjapa playing card paintings and other socials themes.
Traditionally the painters are known as Chitrakars. A Patta painter’s home with all the members of family is his studio. Woman members prepare the glue, the canvas and apply colours, and give the final lacquer coating. The master hand, mostly the male member, draws the initial line and gives the final finishing. The canvas is prepared by coating the clothing with a mixture of chalk and gum made from tamarind seeds. The mixture of gum and chalk gives the cloth’s surface a leathery finish on which the artists paint with vegetable, earth and stone colours.
The painters do not use pencil or charcoal for the preliminary drawings. They are so expert in the line that they simply draw directly with the brush either in light red or yellow.
Palm leaf Pattachitra :
Palm leaf Pattachitra which in Odiya language is known as Tala Pattachitra is drawn on palm leaf. First of all palm leaves are left for becoming hard after removed from the tree. Then these leaves are sewn together to form a canvas-like screen. The images are traced by using black or white ink to fill grooves etched on rows of equal-sized panels of palm leaf that are sewn together. These panels can also be easily folded like a fan and packed in a compact pile for better conservation. Often palm-leaf illustrations are more elaborate.