The patachitra, the folk painting of Orissa, has a history of great antiquity. The `Patachitra` paintings exhibit the use of strong line and brilliant colors. These are religious paintings which covers themes and events from Indian mythology and Puranas and mainly made on silk or on old cotton glued with paper. Patachitras are painted in a regular series like Dashavatar of Vishnu and activities of Lord Rama & Krishna etc. The Patachitra paintings have a basic resemblance to the old murals of Kalinga region dating back to 5th century B C. The best Patachitra paintings are found in and around Puri, especially in the village of Raghurajpur. The artists colony, known as Chitrakar Sahi, is in the vicinity of the local temple.
Art of Patachitra
Apart from the mythological stories, there are figures like a dancing girl or mother and child. The most popular patachitra paintings are the figures of Jagannath, the crowned God of Puri with Brother Balaram and Devi Subhadra. Many scenes are however from the life of Krishna, the fountain head of inexhaustible anecdotes of colour and excitement that people never tired of. Krishna`s dancing with gopis and playing of various pranks on his playmates charging the environment with an air of mischief are favourites.The eternal idol of Radha and Krishna set in a riot of exhilarating colours assail our eyes with vivid red, orange, yellow for the background and lapis lazuli for the sky, dark green for dense brooding trees, parrot green for the grass. Against this glowing background is blue figure of Krishna, and in pink purple, wheat and brown and a whole host of shades are Krishna`s playmates, touched off by gold and silver brushing. For an important occasion, there will be sumptuous elephants surrounded by mangal ghats (sacred vessels), gaily painted with trees, creepers, leaves, flowers, animals etc.
Procedure of Patachitra Painting
The folk paintings or patachitras the painting is done on cloth which the artists prepare themselves by coating it with a mixture of chalk and gum made from tamarind seeds to give the surface a leather like texture on which the artists paint with earth and stone colours. In Patachitra, painting is done by brushes with a mixture of clay and powder from a stone rich in iron - oxide, or by incising and cutting a pattern on the raw pottery using comb - like and knife like tools.
Artifacts on Patachitra
Paintings depict gods of the Hindu pantheon i.e. Radha & Krishna, legend and Jagannath.