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Traditional Paintings of Orissa

Orissa had developed quite a unique form of painting, known as the Oriya school of painting in the bygone days. Based around the Jagganath cult these art forms developed in the temple of Jagganath temple to gradually find their way out. The Oriya school of painting can be divided into:

1) Classical Oriya painting
2) Folk painting
3) Tribal painting

Classical Oriya painting

Patta Chitra - Traditional Oriya artThe classical Oriya painting, Pattachitra is painted on a specially prepared cloth (patta), coated with earth to stiffen it and finally finished with lacquer after painting, producing motifs in vibrant colours. Pattas are now used as wall hangings. The subject matter of patta paintings are closely connected with the Jagannath cult and the episodes from Ram and Krishna life. Pattas showing in scenes of Rasa Lila, Vastra Haran, Kaliya Dalan, images of Lord Jagannath, themes of eroticism, nature and wild life executed in vigorous folk style are cmmon. The traditional chitrakars (painters) have the honor of painting the Puri temple deities and their chariots (cars) every year.

Palm leaves (Chitra pothi)

These were basically the folk paintings from Orissa. An exclusive and indigenous tradition of Orissa, the craft of palm leaf manuscripts dates back to the medieval period. With the help of an iron pen or stylus (lohankantaka), the artist first inscribes texts or design on the surface of palm leaves. A paste of tamarind seed, oil and charcoal is then applied over it. The residue is then rubbed off thus revealing the groove that stands out distinctly. Usually the legends of the Mahabharat and Ramayan, gods and goddess, the nature and wild life themes are presented. The visual effects are enhanced using the vibrant vegetable and mineral colors. Romantic figures drawn on small leaves now serve as book marks, greeting cards and playing cards. Of late, the traditional artists clustered in the village of Raghurajpur, about 50 km from Bhubaneswar have revived this art from. The village of Dandasahi near Raghurajpur has been identified as another centre.

Orissa Tribal Paintings

Tribal Paintings from OrissaThe tribal paintings of Orissa are intimately related to their religious beliefs and drawn to appease their deities. Edital is the ethnic painting of the Saora tribe usually depicting everyday like along -with the concepts of retribution, punishment and rewards. The Saora artists use right angled triangles to cast the anthropocentric world in different moods and emotions. The Kondhs paint the walls of their houses with geometric patterns, called Manji Gunda while the Santal paint the figurative designs.

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