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CRAFTS OF INDIA / PATACHITRA / THEMES
PATACHITRA
The special themes chosen for Patachitra

- The theme of Oriya painting centres round the Jagannath and the Vaishnava cult. Since beginning of Pattachitra culture, Lord Jagannath who was an incarnation of Lord Krishna has been the major source of inspiration. The subject matter of Patachitra or PattaChitra is mostly mythological, religious stories and folk lore.

- Themes are chiefly on Lord Jagannath and Radha-Krishna, different "Vesas" of Shri Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra, temple activities, the ten incarnations of Vishnu basing on the 'Gita Govinda' of Jayadev, Kama Kujara Navagunjara, Ramayana, Mahabharata. The individual paintings of gods and goddesses are also being painted.

- The Pattachitra styles are a mix of both folk and classical elements but leanings more towards folk forms. The dress style has Mughal influences. All of the poses have been confined to a few well-defined postures. These are not free from monotonous repetitions, though at times this is necessary to accentuate the narrative character of the style.

- The lines are bold and clean and angular and sharp. Generally there are no landscapes, perspectives and distant views. All the incidents are seen in close juxtaposition. The background on which the figures are represented, is delineated with decorations of flowers and foliages and is mostly painted in red colour. All the paintings are given decorative borders. The whole painting is conceived in the form of a design on a given canvas.

The themes may be classified into following categories:

a) Jagannath paintings b) Vaishnav Paintings

within which you further have

a) Bhagabat paintings b) Ramayana paintings c) Saiva paintings d) Shakta paintings e) Paintings as legends f) Ragachitras g) Bandhachitra h) Yamapati and yatripatas – (sketches of Puri temple) Ganjapa playing card paintings and other socials themes on paintings.

The Patachitra paintings – an inspiration for tribal hand painted art on handloom weaves

This traditional painting art of Odisha has been the source of inspiration for Indian ethnic artisans and craftsman of Odisha, India, to transform handloom weaves in silk, cotton and other fabrics into masterpieces with the beautiful hand painted tribal art adorning the Indian saree. Despite the crude tools employed, the use of natural elements as colors, the limited availability of hues and other inconveniences, the outcomes are flawless and phenomenal.

Murals of religious venues centred around Puri Konark and Bhubaneshwar, themes from Gita Govinda by Jaydev, stories about Lord Jagannatha and the Radha Krishna saga, scenes from the epics Mahabharata and Ramayana, are all popular subjects for Pattachitra. Indidvidual gods and goddesses, folk tales and classical elements figure now and then as themes for these sarees.

The Patachitra painted sarees have certain marked features

Lines are bold, very clean, angular and quite sharp. There is an absence of landscapes, perspectives, or intended views. The backdrop would have flowers and other floral representations to distinguish the figures that are drawn or represented in the foreground. There are decorative borders and a theme designed in the form of a narrative becomes evident.