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August 31, 2021

Setting The Scene by UnderstandingPattachitra Art and theHistory of Pattachitra 

One of the best ways of getting to understand moreabout Pattachitra art is first appreciating the uniqueness ofPattachitra history. The word Pattachitra evolved from the Sanskrit work “patta” which means cloth and “chitra” which means picture. The art form originated as early as the 12th century and is widely designed by artisans in West Bengal and Odisha. With regards to this term, you may see the word spelled Pattachitra or Patachitra interchangeably in different magazines and online platforms. Therefore, it is worthwhile noting that they are essentially referring to the same art form.  


Bengali Pattachitra (which may also be referred to asBangla Pattachitra) is known for its roots of being associated with an indigenous form of scroll painting. In Odisha and West Bengal, the art form has matured so much over the centuries that it is not uncommon for different regions within the states to have their own unique take on Pattachitra. Given its indigenous roots, tribal patterns displayed in Pattachitra motifs are also drawn upon for inspiration in the art making process. Below is an example of one such tribal-inspired,Pattachitra painting

pattachitra drawing

For instance,Medinipur Patachitra is unique in its own right. The art from this part of West Bengal draws heavily upon mythological tales that have been passed down through the generations. For this reason, many deities are also portrayed in the Pattachitra work from Medinipur. 

Examples of Pattachitra Art

While Pattachitra is commonly painted on a canvas or scroll, it is not uncommon to find the art painted on everyday objects in order to add greater visual appeal.Pattachitra fish painting is quite common given West Bengal’s and Odisha’s proximity to the Bay of Bengal. Fish is embedded in the culinary culture of these states and its significance is evidenced in the art work, as seen on this kettle. 

pattachitra fish painting

Pattachitra of Lord Jagannath,Krishna Pattachitra, Hanuman Pattachitra andGanesh Pattachitra are commonly ingrained into the designs from the regions of Odisha and West Bengal. Given the fact that art is seen as one of the best ways of preserving faiths and passing them down from generation to generation, coming across aPattachitra painting like the multicoloured one displayed below, depicting Lord Ganesha, is not uncommon.

Pattachitra of Lord Ganesha | Lord Ganesh


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