Cultural Context of Pattachitra

Cultural Context of Pattachitra


Sajja means decoration and adornment. Gotipuas enhance themselves with chitra (painting) on their body, highlight their eyes with black kajal. Some perform Odissi dance by wearing tahiya (head gear). Such is the beauty of culture that people in villages where every pratha live like satiya (truth) is believed and performed by connoisseurs.

Sajja
On the day of Sahiyatra gotipuas in dandashi take the form of Goddess Durga, ritually decorate their feet lined with Alta (red liquid) wear a sari and hand and face mask made of paper mache. After transforming into the revered Goddess Shakti dances in anger.

Dandasai of Chandanpu in Puri district is the shrine where various chitrakars reside. Dandasai village walls decorated with kantha chitra (wall paintings) narrates folklore of Qrissa, Chandi, Chamuda and Shakti in various forms of bhav (expression) and bhanga with bold figures in vibrant colours.

Traditional Chitrakar community paint the walls of houses, temples with beautiful borders and stories. Picture show how the fearsome naked Goddess Chandi drinks her own blood. People here live with the tradition and follow the inherited craft from their fore fathers by continuing pattachitra, paper mask, and gotipua dance.

Pattachitra painting is ritually connected with the Lord Jagannth temple in Puri. For the Chitrakars in the Puri painting is an expression art as devotion towards the God, depicting various myths and legends of Purana, Ramayana, Mahabharata and Radha Krishna.

Chitrakars preparing patti, patua, patta or the base canvas with layers of fabric with tamarind seed paste, after drying it is rubbed with soap stone to make the surface smooth and ready for painting.

After the patti is prepared natural colors are prepared using natural sources and then mixed with Kaintha attha (latex) and rubbed inside the coconut shell to make it viscose fluid before lining the figures drawn on pattis, which was originally done using katha badi (stick) and later with the brush made of rats hair.

Very few people know about the traditional playing cards Ganjapas which narrates the dasavatar (ten incarnation) is a languishing art.


This outstanding pattachitra painting in 16 X 6 feet depicts Krishna lila Katha done by the National Award winner Niranjan Maharana. This painting has been acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

Niranjan Maharana is a Chitrakar from Chandanpur, Dandasai Village and has inherited the skill from his father Nursingha Maharana and grandfather Panu Maharana.

Rajja is the festival of earth goddess worshiped by the farmers of eastern Odisha. This time the Dharini or the earth Goddess is in her fertile period, farmers do not plough the land, women adorn themselves during these four days when the earth mother is considered to be in fertile period..

Pralaya Patra, when nothing was left in this world, when everything was shattered and finished, there floated a pralaya patra where Vishnu lay on the ananth shayana watching the entire universe. In this image Vishnu, the keeper of this world has been depicting in his incarnation as Krishna balbya lila inside the pralaya patra with his symbolic representation through padma, gada, chakra, shanka and peacock feathers

Savitri Katha
Savitri the bountiful, beauty and intelligent daughter of King Ashvapati made up her mind her to marry the woodcutter Satyawan, whose father lost his kingdom and his vision forcibly done by the king Shailya. Astrological predictions foretold that Satyawan may not survive for long. Undettered Savitri left her royal throne and stayed in the forest after getting married to Satyawan.

On the day when the God of death, Yama had sent his messengers to get Satyavan, such was her chaste and fire that they could not take away Satyavan's body. Yama himself decided to come, but Savitri pleaded with him not to take her husband away. Yama blessed her with many wishes other than her husbands life. Savitri asked for a hundred sons, for King Ashvati, her father-in-law his vision so that they could they see their grand children and the return of his kingdom.

Later Yama realized how clever she had been and left Satyavan with Savitri.

Saraswati consort of Brahma, the creator, she is the Goddess of knowledge and personifies nature’s wisdom. Veena is her instrument, hansa is her messenger depicting purity.

Ardhanari represents androgyne body, where Shiva and Shakti fuse together to form one. Shakti was born as Parvati only for Shiva.

Radha Krishna in Jugal posture embracing each other, bhav (expression) symbolizing atma and parmatma, matter and soul together complete the cosmos.

Vishnu took the form of wild boar, Barah avatar incarnation and rescued Bhudevi, the earth Goddess from the demon Hiranyakashyap and embraced her.


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