11 Incredible facts about Pattachitra

30 October 2017

Pattachitra (‘patta‘ means cloth/canvass and ‘chitra’ means picture) is an indigenous art form that uses naturally made colors to paint on cloth. The art form originated approximately 2500 years ago and gets its inspiration from Lord Jaganath&Vaishnava mythology. Here are 11 facts about this heritage art form that will leave you amazed. If you are interested you could plan your trip here

Fact #1
While Pattachitra survives in a few places like Puri, Paralakhemundi, Chikiti and Sonepur, Raghurajpur is Odisha’s first heritage village and was developed as a crafts village by Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage or INTACH


Fact #2
Every household in this village community is engaged in making handicrafts like Pattachitra, TalaPattachitra (Pattachitra made on palm leaf), Tussar& Tribal Paintings, papiermâchétoys and masks, wood and stone carvings, wooden toys and sculptures. Some of them are National Awardees.


Fact #3
Pattachitra is registered under the identity of OdishaPattachitra – to maintain the high quality standards of Odisha craft and to ensure that original art is not overshadowed by replicas made in neighboring regions.


Fact # 4
A ‘chitraakar’s (Pattachitra artist) home serves as his studio and his family members, as his assistants. They usually carry the title Mohapatra or Maharana. The head of the house usually draws the initial lines with a skilful hand and gives the final touches. The womenfolk traditionally helped with the processes in between, however with changing times the womenfolk too have been taking the main roles.


Fact # 5
To get the canvass ready, tamarind seeds are pounded and then heated in an earthen pot. This forms a paste that holds two pieces of cloth together. This is coated with a soft clay stone powder till it becomes firm and then left to dry. This cloth is then polished with stones of different roughness until the surface becomes smooth and leathery.


Fact # 6
The murals are painted using natural colours. For example the gum of the kaitha tree is used as a base. Powdered conch shells are mixed with this base to make white colour. Lamp soot for black pigment, Haritala(a kind of stone) for yellow, indigo for blue, leaves for green and so on.


Fact # 7
Depending on the kind of facial features being drawn, an expert artist learns to control his breath.  For stronger or heavier features the artist breathes normally. But in case of less pronounced, delicate features he holds his breath for better dexterity.


Fact # 8
Pattachitra paintings are said to last atleast a hundred years lasts at least a 100 years while a palm leaf painting can last forever


Fact # 9
During this summer bathing festival (DebasnanaPurnima) of Jagannath Temple, three of the Deities fall sick and they stay away from the public view for a period of 15 days during which their Pattachitra paintings worshipped in the temple.


Fact # 10
Ganjifa is a unique, traditional card game, played in the villages of Odisha. Each of these cards is created by the same Pattachitrachitrakars.


Fact # 11
India’s PM, Mr.Modi gifted the ex French President, Francois Hollande a Pattachitra painting titled Tree of Life, made by BhaskarMahapatra an artisan of Raghurajpur.
Elephant Parade is the world’s biggest public art event and its 22nd edition is scheduled for Nov, 2017 in India. Pattachitra will be showcased here for the first time ever with the help of artist Pranab Narayan Das.



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