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 aid and souvenir

Iconographic meaning

Representation of the Vaishnavite Hindu god, Rama, with his brother, Lakshmana, and the monkey god, Hanuman, symbol of devotion and loyalty. The Vaishnavite mark of 2 vertical lines are clearly visible on the chest of the green Rama.

Physical description

Small, rectangular shaped painting of two men and monkey. Both men wear bracelets, earrings, scarves and loose garments from waist to calf. Both hold curved bows; one is green and has a moustache other is yellow. The yellow monkey of Hanuman is on bended knee with hands together in raised vertical posture, wearing jewelry and a decorative crown. Image bordered by a yellow band with black detailing followed by a green band with yellow and white floral design; dark orange around the edge.