Odisha Pattachitra Paintings
Pattachitra style of painting is one of the oldest and most popular folk art forms of Odisha. Pattachitra- literally meaning ‘Picture on cloth canvas’ is a traditional treasure that has mesmerized the common man. The Patachitras , the intricate and artistic folk art, of Orissa are icon paintings that include the wall paintings, manuscript painting, palm-leaf etching, and painting on cloth, both cotton and silk. Our collection of Pattachitra paintings are made on tussar silk.
The origin of the paintings is traced to be the 8th century A.D., from the fragmented evidences of cave paintings in Khandagari, Udaigiri and Sitabhinji. Having a reference in the earliest known treatise on painting called ‘Chitralakshana’, this art form finds its strong roots in the traditions of Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of Odisha. These paintings have a ritualistic significance even to this day. The picturesque village of Raghurajpur, on the banks of river Bhargavi is well known for this artistry, along with its neighbours Puri, Dandasahi and Khasposak. The Pattachitra artists are called ‘Chitrakaars’ (Painters), mainly belonging to the Maharana and Mahapatra castes.
The creation of the Pattachitra paintings is a disciplined art form, and the chitrakars maintain rigidity in their use of colours and patterns, restricting the colours to a single tone.
Preparing the paints is perhaps the most important part of the creation of Pattachitra, engaging the craftsmanship of the chitrakars in using naturally available raw materials to bring about indigenous paints. The gum of the kaitha tree is the chief ingredient, and is used as a base for making different pigments, on which diverse raw materials are mixed for diverse colours. Powdered conch shells, for instance, are used for making a white pigment, while lamp soot is used for a black pigment. The root of the keya plant is usually used for making the common brush, while mouse hair is used on the requirement of finer brushes, to be attached to wooden handles.