Saturday, August 31, 2013

Indian Art: Pichwai Paintings Of Rajasthan

Posts in 'Indian Art' series on my blog is my endeavor to bring back the lost charm of various ancient Indian art forms and to let more and more people know about rich culture and heritage of India.
Pichwai painting is an art form that has its roots in Rajasthan and more precisely in Nathdwara.
Pichwai  means 'at the back' so these paintings are basically used as decorative curtain/backdrop in Shrinath ji temples and Krishna temples in Rajasthan. These cloth hangings are considered very sacred and devotees offer these cloth hangings in temples and take them back home as souvenir as well

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Pichwai born when Vallabhaichari sect created pictorial illustration of festivals and occasions as a backdrop  for Krishna temple in Nathdwara.

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These paintings are known to have more details, are more polished and pure than Phad paintings that are other form of painting in Rajasthan but is very similar to Pichwai. Figure of Shrinath ji (Krishna) is shown decked in vibrant festive costumes. Features that I like most are big eyes, sharp nose and colorful costumes with all fine details, be it sheer dupattas of Gopis(milkmaids) and Radha or jewel and gems studded in crown and other jewelry. Trees, decorated animal and beautiful birds are another eye catching features.

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As it all started with iconography for Krishna temple so main theme is Shrinath ji(Krishna) and his heroic and notable deed. Though theme varies according to the season like you will see pond and pink lotuses in summer Pichwai, full moon and dark background can be seen in Sharad Poornima Pichwai. Themes are based on festivals and occasions like Holi, Annakoot, Rasleela and janmashtmi.

Image Source: Click Here
It can be painted, embroidered, printed or woven in applique. Earlier Pichwai was done on loose, rough, hand spun fabric and painted in permanent natural colors that were extracted from vegetables and minerals and that don't tend to fade with time. Outlines are always dark hued and lighter soft tones are used for filling the picture. These days quick materials like paint brushes and machine made fabric is used that obviously saves lot of time.
First a rough sketch of painting is drawn on starched fabric. Then slowly fill the color in entire painting and outline it with dark color. Painting is then adorned with gems, stones or embroidered with gold thread to enhance the beauty of it.
The more I explore about these paintings more I am tempted to buy one for me :)
Do you have Pichwai painting in your home....I would love love love to see it. You can send it to me at or just post it on my Facebook page.
Have a happy and creative weekend!!

Linking it to Homework Wednesday!!

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