pata chitra (Painting)

About this object

History of use

Puri for centuries has been a seaside resort for Bengali tourists and also the centre for the popular north Eastern Hindu Vaishnavite god, Jagannath. It has thousands of visitors each year. Low caste Hindu painters, adjacent to the Jagannath Temple, produce these paintings which traditionally appealed mostly to pilgrims but now are usually purchased by tourists. Paintings deal with a variety of Saivite and Vaishnavite themes. Although it developed in conjunction with and was influenced by iconographical and stylistic developments of art of the classical kingdoms, the folk style of painting was exemplified by Puri painters (and also in Bengal and Bihar) as having a short and continuing unique tradition of its own.

Cultural context

devotional and tourist sales

Iconographic meaning

Holy man on pilgramage is indicated by spouted pot (kumbha), symbol of the traveller. Kumbha is water pot from which he will pour water in veneration on sacred image in temple. Colour blue indicates his holiness within Vaishnavite tradition.

Physical description

Small, rectangular shaped painting of a blue man holding umbrella. In right hand holds spouted yellow pot by handle; in left a yellow parasol. Hair bound up by double string of double continuous dots. Wearing yellow scarf and patterned pants. Edge of painting is double bordered by foliated pattern and undulating black line on white. Light red background sprinkled with white floral motifs.