Richly Coloured Composite Pattachitra Featuring The Dashavatara
To the artists of India, stories of Krishnaleela are an infinite fountain of inspiration. Lord Krishna is the most charming avatara of Lord Vishnu as the dusky and youthful Vrindavan cowherd, and the word ‘leela’ refers to His ethereal pleasures and pursuits. Countless times He has upheld the rule of dharma in ihaloka (the earthly realm of existence) and stories of His leela abound in the Indian psyche as well as art. The pattachitra painting that you see on this page is an amalgamation of many such narratives from the life and times of Lord Krishna.
The composite that you see on this page features a pair of circular panels. Their edges are lined with shapely white petals, which in turn are miniscule panels featuring the lovers intoxicated with their own music. Between the two are twin vertical strips of three panels each; and beneath them all is a horizontal strip of ten (‘dasha’) ochre-coloured panels featuring a single Vishnu-avatara each. This entire ensemble is surrounded by a series of small circular panels that define all four edges of the painting. A bed of soft green vine, interspersed with delicate pink petals, fills up the spaces amidst the panels.
Against the jet balck of the background, the palette of rich greens, blues, and ochres is a feast for the eyes. This is highly characteristic of the pattachitra form of folk art, which is traditionally practised in India with a focus on aesthetics as well as Vaishnavite narrative value.
WATER COLOR PAINTING ON PATTI
FOLK ART FROM THE TEMPLE TOWN PURI (ORISSA)
ARTIST: RABI BEHRA
38.50 INCHES X 22.50 INCHES