Significance of Palm Leaf
Palm leaf is considered very sacred in the state of Odisha. It was so important for the people of this state that even after printing presses started operating here, important texts continued to be printed on the leaves instead of paper. Traditionally, the horoscopes too are written on palm leaves. The printing of wedding invitation card on palm leaf is still common here.
Techniques of Palm Leaf Painting
The art form consists of inscribing letters and artistic designs on palm-leaf. The palm leaf is cut into standard sizes and held together with two wooden plank covers. A hole is made in the centre. In order to prepare the palm leaf, the unripe leaves of the palm tree are first cut and then semidried. Thereafter, they are buried in swamps for 4-5 days and dried in shade. These are then stitched together accordingly. It so happens that seldom they are stitched after the etching is complete.
Etching is done within lines with the help of an iron pen on leaf strips. A paste is made of bean leaves; charcoal of burnt coconut shells, til oil and turmeric is rubbed on the etching that highlights the figures. There are no colours used as such and whatever is used are in subdued tones. For painting purpose vegetable and mineral colours are used.
Themes of Palm Leaf Painting
The themes of mythological incidents, Gods and Goddesses figures complete with details of hair style and dress, animals, flowers and trees, Radha and Krishna, Durga, Ganesha and Saraswati are depicted in these paintings. Even natural sceneries are painted. Some of the paintings also include local legends and folklore.