Description of Paintings on Chariots
The paintings on chariots are actually coloured pictures designed on a thick cloth, which is fixed at the appropriate places on the body of the chariot. The themes of the paintings include, Radha and Lord Krishna united in love, a lady playing the sitar and a separate figure of a violin-player. Poems have been written describing this unique form of painting and in one of the famous poem called The Chariot of the Chowdhurys by the folk poet Jasimuddin, the paintings on chariots has been illustrated to show the figures of supreme deities. The fine brush strokes of the artists while painting these figures has breathed life into them and has created an everlasting image. Mentioned below are few of the lines from the poem:
"Then came the painter and with a few touches of his brush so fine, He brought forth on the chariots body many deities, supremely divine. From colours drawn with a tender hand an everlasting image gained birth, And a spirit of singular peace descended on this fragile earth."
The poem describes the folk art of paintings on chariot in an impressive way, which in turn elevates the prestige of the other folk artists of the state of West Bengal. These paintings are a reminiscent of the concept of fresco paintings. The style exhibited in these kinds of paintings conveys the very essence of the art of painting in Bengal in a simplistic way without being ambiguous.
Examples of Paintings on Chariots
There are plenty of examples of paintings on chariots which are now currently in museums, one of these exhibits is held in the archives of Ananda Niketan in Howrah and there are mentions of few other paintings on chariots which is kept at the Amulya Archaeological Centre at Rajbalhat in Hooghly District, where there is a large panel of 6 or 7 paintings, which are now considered to be a high standard of artistic skill.
These paintings which are now displayed as collectibles in the museums were collected from an ancient chariot belonging to the temple of Chhatreshwari Devi in the village of Paliara, situated on the banks of Damodar River about 7 miles to the south west of Rajbalhat. With time, the brightness of the colours and the texture of these paintings have diminished but they still represent the glory of the Bengali artists from the past era.
Other notable pieces of paintings on chariots may be found in Amragarhi in Howrah District, showing Jagannath, Balaram and Subhadra with several instrument players. Then there are few other paintings in Kanupat village, which display the figures of Radha and Lord Krishna.
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