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. 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 W. Bengal and Bihar) as having a short and continuing unique tradition of its own.

Cultural context

devotional aid and souvernir

Iconographic meaning

Elephant god, Ganesh, here is Saivite figure, as indicated by 3 horizontal lines on chest. He is believed to be the remover of obstacles and homage is paid to him before embarking on journeys, therefore, he is an important figure for pilgrims.

Physical description

Small, rectangular shaped painting of a white faced Ganesha, the rest of its body, including its two sets of arms, is flesh coloured. Ganesha is wearing patterned divided cloth which forms pants. Wears high crown, bracelets, anklets and a long snake necklace. In hand holds two knife-like objects, one with end knob and curved object. In other hand is stick with snake coiled around it. White rat seated by his feet. Image bordered by a white band with black detailing followed by a yellow band with black, green, white and red floral design; dark orange around the edge.