Updated: Jul 15, 2022
The word Pattachitra is derived from the combination of "leaf" and "picture". This painting depicting Hindu deities, using bright colors, is a traditional painting of Odisha. Not only in Odisha, this painting is also a part of ancient Bengali narrative art, which serves as a visual representation during the song – the motion picture and the Durga Sara.
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The ancient Pattachitra corresponds to the old frescoes of Odisha, especially the religious centers of Puri, Konark and Bhubaneswar, which date back to the fifth century BCE.
The color schemes of the deities of Puri are similar to that of the Patta style. The oldest inscriptions of Pattachitras date back to the establishment of the Sri Jagannath Temple at Puri.
Apart from the regions of Odisha, it is prevalent in Rabhum, West Midnapore, Jhargram, Bardhaman, Murshidabad district, and the Kalighat region. According to Ajitkomar Mookerjee, a folk art writer from Bengal, there are jattu-patta paintings of mural style in the temples of the Bankura district.
Apart from this, Bengal Pattachitra is also mentioned in Buddhist literature, Haribansha, Abhijnana Shakuntalam, Malavikagnimitra, Harshacharita, and Uttar Ramcharita.
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In Odisha, traditionally the tasks of all the members of the family are prescribed and they are all part of this process. The painters are so skilled that they use the colors directly, without making the designs out of coal. When the picture is finally done, the picture is placed over a chimney for exposure to heat.
Patience and discipline are the basic and very important aspects of this art. The pattern used is strictly adhered to, and the same consistent colors are always used.
The use of natural colors is characteristic of Bengal Pattachitras. The colors used in the artwork include blue, yellow, green, red, brown, black, and white. Pauri is used to make yellow, indigo is used to make blue, Bhushakali is used to make black, and vermilion is used to make red.
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After the beginning of Pattachitra culture, Lord Jagannath has been the main source of inspiration for this art. The temple activities mainly depict Lord Jagannath and Radha-Krishna, Sri Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra, ten incarnations of Vishnu. This style is a combination of classical and folk elements.
Apart from mythology, epics, stories of gods and goddesses, there are also depictions of important events, news, and social issues, in which there is a song related to each one of them.
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This art, like many art styles, has seen many recent alterations over time. Famous artists include Khandu and Radha Chitrakar, as well as their children Bapi, Sameer, Prabir, Laltu, Tagar, Mamoni, and Laila Chitrakar.
Apart from palm leaves, this painting may now be found adorning walls and exhibitions as a showpiece. As a result of the tenacious artists' efforts, this heritage, and the essence of this tradition, has survived to this day. Author: Pratichi Rai Editor: Rachita Biswas