Indian Handicrafts: Pattachitra – Orissa
Pattachitra is one of the most popular of Indian handicrafts. This art is generally made on a canvas composed of layers of yarn fabric or tussar silk (a mixture of jute and silk) which is then coated with chalk powder and tamarind paste glue. Once the coats have been applied, the cloth is polished with stone to give a smooth texture. Thereafter, it is cut into desired sizes and natural colour pigments are used to paint pictures of the deities. Pigments are limited to basic colours, mainly those that are found in earth, stones, and minerals, and are mixed with wood apple before the pictures are drawn out.
The art has light and energetic colours, drawn with much ingenuity and defined by strong individual brush strokes. In the end, the deities or characters are fine lined in black, and the borders adorned in great detail giving you a replica of the old murals of Kalong region that date back to the 5th century BC. Given the coarse tools used by the artists, it is a marvel that such fine lines and delicate detailing are created with such ease.
Today, Pattachitra painting has recovered from near extinction and grown to become an internationally celebrated art form for its careful craftsmanship, unique designs, and vibrant colours. This glorious school of painting may have changed to suit more modern visions today but the basic nature is still deep rooted in the Kalinga Kalam.