Patachitra

Patachitra

watch process video

Patachitra

Product

Patuas’ larger repertoire includes mythical characters from Hinduism, Islam and even from Christianity. While some of their scrolls are on epical characters like Manasa, Behula and Lakhindar, others are on Satyapir or Jesus Christ. Many other topics like life of tribal people, marriage of fishes and stories of wild animals also find buoyant expression in their painted frames. The changing time has been deftly captured by the Patuas. Improvising from mythological stories, today the painters depict incidents like Tsunami or 9/11 in their scrolls. Social themes like gender violence, child marriage have also found place in their creations. Besides painting scrolls the Patuas also make diversified products like sarees, dress materials, home décor items, stationaries, bags etc by applying the Patachitra motifs.

 

Process

The process of Patachitra involves few steps which are carried out by the Patachitra artists with immense care and passion.  

Initially the artists draw the outlines on paper directly with the brush on the paper. They are so expert that they don't use pencil or charcoal for the preliminary drawings.

Then the line drawings are filled in with colours. After that a layer of recycled soft fabric is pasted on the reverse side of the paper to make the scroll stronger and long-lasting.

Then it is dried in sunlight. The most unique thing is that all the colours used by the artists are natural ones extracted from different vegetables, fruits and flowers and made locally by themselves.

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The steps of Patachitra paintings

History

Similar to the cave paintings of Mohenjodaro, Harappa and Ajanta, the history of Patachitra or scroll painting in Bengal goes back to more than two thousand years. Patuas or Patachitra artists have been referred to in literary works dating back to more than 2500 years. Rural bards and story-tellers in earlier times would use scrolls to tell the stories of various themes depicted in them through songs or Pater Gaan. The songs are of wide variety ranging from traditional mythological tales and tribal rituals to stories based on modern Indian history and contemporary issues.