Patachitra is a unique folk tradition of visual storytelling accompanied by songs performed by the Patuas. Stories are painted on long Scrolls by the Painters known as Chitrakars (family surname) who gradually and unfurl them while narrating. Patachitra has drawn the attention and interest of artists, art connoisseurs and or researchers and has been nationally and internationally acclaimed as a very interesting style of painting. To some, Patachitra is the precursor of modern day animation. The word Pata comes from the Sanskrit word Patta that means “a piece of cloth” and Chitra refers to painting. The songs are known as Pater Gaan which is passed down to next generations. Traditionally, the Patuas would travel from village to village, singing and displaying the scrolls to earn a living.

A lady in the village displaying her work.

Image Credits: beta.outlooktraveller.comjust-backa-painters-village-in-west-bengal-1006547

Patachitra is known for its bold colours, lines and strokes. The multilayer communication in Patachitra includes strong visual and lucid audio messages which not only enliven the traditional stories but is also used to communicate the social issues. The Patachitra scrolls come in varied sizes from 1 to 1 and half feet in width an three to 25 feet in length depending on the narratives. Sometimes, the two ends are attached to two bamboo sticks.

A Traditional Scroll Painting

Image credits: http://www.folk-ark.com/blog/2015/10/12/deccan-footprints

Patas scroll painting is one of the earliest art forms in Bengal and started with the most ancient peoples of the Austro- Asiatic culture. The early reference of the people practicing with art form is found in Brahamabaivartha Purana. Patuas, according to the text, were the descendants of the supreme artist Lord Vishwakarma and his wife Ghritachi. Patuas, one living in Bengal among Austro-Asiatic people and letter known as Chitrakars.

Design from the Painting

There are many types of themes in these paintings that are mythological Patas, Historical and Contemporary Patas and Patachitra on social issues. There are three original formats generally seen among the Patachitras in Bengal. The first is Jarano or Gutano , Arelatai Pata and Chauka Pata.

A lady displaying the traditional Scroll Paintings. 

The raw materials used to make a piece of traditional Patachitra paintings are: Papers, cloths, adhesive and natural color extracted from flowers, vegetables, leaves and mud. The artists extract red color from saffron, blue from Aparajita, white from Kusum Mati, green from runner beans or brown from teak leaves. Gum from wood Apple is extracted in a coconut shell and mixed with natural colors and kept in the bright sunlight to darken.Firstly, the outlines of the painting are drawn on paper with paint and brush. Then, the line drawings are filled with colors. After that a layer of recycled soft fabric is pasted on the reverse side of the paper to make the scroll stronger. The paintings are then dried naturally.

Patachitra in its original form is painted on paper scrolls. With design interventions, in recent times in recent times the paintings are done not only for narrative purposes but also for decoration on various products. These include apparels, fashion accessories, lifestyle items, furniture, jewellery etc.


Tshirt with Patachitra Design

Image Credits: http://www.craftsnation.in/white-pata-chitra-t-shirt,5

The artists of Pingla also celebrate their annual 3 day festival” POT Maya” since 2010. The unique festival held in mid November every year. Every house in the village transforms into and art gallery. Visitors can interact with the artists, get to know about the stories behind their paintings, learn about the ways to extract natural colors and paint and collect some marvelous artworks. While in Pingla, one can visit the Common Facility Centre built with the support of West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board, which houses the award winning artifacts from the hub and know more about the craft Patachitra. Let give history a bright future.

People from abroad visiting the village to see the paintings at POT MAYA festival.

 

Content and Image credits: www.banglanataka.com


Many millennia before recorded history in the Eolithic, Paleolithic and the Neolithic eras-Man like the other species lived in caves and forest. He wandered about hunting and, when no game was killed he ate such wild fruits and roots as were available to satisfy his hunger. He seldom could venture out after sunset. Darkness was to him a demon and the Sun, the giver of light a deity. With the passage of time he made another discovery, fire. He found was like giving and life-sustaining. Born of Aranees i.e. igniting sticks, this God banishes darkness, frightens the demon and invokes the light. He is the supreme counselor, ancient but eternally young.

Among the light of fire, the light of the sun, the light of the moon, this lamp is the best of lights -Skandapurana

 

                                                            A Kinnari Lamp from South India

With the deepa, the lamp begins a new chapter in civilization that which may be called the Deepa-yuga. As the symbol of Surya and Agni, the light has always been deemed auspicious. It was dutifully and religiously offered to him who bestowed it upon mankind. The lamp was indispensable for prayer. It was a stick with token of devotion, supplication and benediction. The Gods were believed to dwell by the light of the holy lamp. Its very existence helped man to shed the fear of the dark. To man, light was knowledge.

The lamp was sacred; and once its August function was gratefully accepted by man, it was but natural that he should try to adorn it with beauty and grace cover that he should make Sundara what was Shiva. The body of the lamp, to begin with, was of stone or shell. Later the innovation of Terracotta lamp and then metal lamps. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are two great epics, make extensive reference to lamps of Gold and of precious stones. Because of tips uncontested place lamp should have found mention in the ancient scriptures and secular writing.

Thongavillaku or the eternal lamp found in Chola inscriptions of South India.

Mythology has made a powerful and continuous impact on the evolution of the lamp. The ten incarnations of the God Vishnu have been an unfailing source of inspiration for the lamp- maker. The lamp has a two-fold function. It is the veera of light for common use; and it also has a votive use at the time of domestic rites and festivals. There are many types of votive lamps; lamps with large pedestals which shed a steady light over spacious halls, little lights used for daily domestic worship, lamps for offering-archana-deepa; prayer lamps-aarti-deepa; and the nandadeepa, the eternal lamp which illumines the inner sanctuary of the temple. Also used to adorn the sanctuary are Deep-lakshmi , shaped in the form of graceful females, these are anything from 7 inches 7 feet in height, and are of brass or carved stone. This represents the divine history of lamps in India.

Deep Lakshmi Lamp


 

 

Content Research, Conceptualization & Written by Kaavya Lakshman

Embroidery, the origin of which dates back to ancient times, is a unique form of art where the cloth is embellished with designs using needle and thread. The ten lettered word encompasses a wide range of significance and utility- it is a source of livelihood of many Indians, it is worn as a statement of elegance by women, it is respectfully bestowed on our beloved deities and marks the beginning of various occasions all over the country.

India has a proud heritage of exquisite embroideries, which vary from region to region. In the city of Punjab, Bagh, a special type of Phulkari,is the auspicious embroidery adorned on the bride. Traditionally this embroidery is prepared by the grandmother of the bride, the making of which starts right from the time of her birth. It is a peculiar style which holds the design inside a square, giving it the imagery of a garden, from which the name ‘Bagh’ is derived. The embroidery is also done on bedcovers, and shawls made of thick handloom cloth usually dyed in terracotta shade to give it an earthly touch. Silver and gold threads are used for the embroidery work, along with decorative objects such as small mirrors and beads. The unfinished corners and discordant colours represent a nazar buti which is meant to protect the wearer from evil eye.

Bagh Embroidery of Punjab

The Persian form of embroidery Zardozi is derived from the two Persian terms ‘Zar’ which means gold and ‘Dozi’ which means embroidery. It is a form of metal embroidery which makes use of gold and silver threads to create elaborate designs. The original process was termed as ‘Kalabatun’. While the embroidery has existed in India from the time of Rig Veda, it essentially flourished under the patronage of the Mughals as it agreed with the lavish taste of the emperors and their queens. Under the patronage of Aurangzeb, Lucknow became the main hub of Zardozi artists. In present time the embroidery has been rediscovered and highly commercialized, finding space in designer attires, bags, shoes, interiors and much more. The motifs remain close to nature, ranging from flowers, trees, animals to the whole of Indian ecology.

Zardozi embroidery design

The embroidery of Kantha has an interesting historicity behind it. One of the oldest forms of embroidery, it can be dated back to pre-Vedic ages, but the Kantha work known in present times was found in Krishnadas Kaviraj’s 500 year old book, Chaitanya Charitamrita. The word Kantha has two meanings, the first being derived from the Sanskrit language which means ‘discarded garments’. The second meaning which is ‘throat’, is associated with Lord Shiva. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva consumed the poison that came about due to the churning of the ocean. Goddess Parvati was shocked by Lord Shiva’s actions and wrapped her hands around his neck, strangling Lord Shiva and stopping the poison in his throat, rather than allowing it to drop to the universe that is held in Lord Shiva’s stomach. The potency of the poison caused Lord Shiva’s neck and throat to turn blue, therefore giving him the moniker, Nilakantha; ‘nila’ translates to ‘blue’. Therefore the motifs of Kantha are derived from ancient Indian art, including images of the sun, the tree of life and the universe. West Bengal is the proud bearer of the Kantha tradition, with the women of the region playing a significant role in its upkeep.

 


Traditional Kantha Work of Gujarat

Kachchhi embroidery of Gujarat, which is usually done on cotton or silk fabric, involves the use of silk or woolen thread in fine stitches to create elaborate patterns. It draws inspiration from romantic, architectural and human motifsas well as Persian and Mughal arts, withthe main colors being used include green, indigo, deep red, black, yellow and ivory. The distinctive feature of the embroidery is the use of mirrors and beads, strategically placed in between patterns. The famous attire of Gujarat, ghagra choli, carries the graceful embroidery of Kachchhi.

Woman doing traditional Kachchhi work of Gujarat.

The embroideries of India form an integral part of the rich heritage of India. The variation seen from state to state is regarded as a strong cultural identity of that region. The embroideries of India not only capture the interest of us Indians, but fascinate people all over the world!

Picture Credits: Pinterest

 


Indian artists have been known throughout the world for the great amount of history, culture and tradition that their art carries. From Indian Traditional Paintings to Art Posters, Indian Painters have never failed to glorify the history of Indian Paintings. Let us discover stories  about some handpicked art forms from the history of Indian Art that are lesser known but will take you on an incredible journey into India’s Past.

Finding Beauty In Fine Arts & Literature

An excerpt from Sixty Years of Writing on Art & Crafts in India by Roopa Lekha (1928-1988)

“In an era of contemporary art, there are only few who create or appreciate the beauty in Fine Arts and Literature. Let us read a story and dig into the history of Indian literature and fine arts while trying to appreciate the real beauty that lies within.

When we say ‘This poem is beautiful’ and when we say ‘this painting or sculpture or musical piece is beautiful’, do we mean the same thing by the word “beautiful”? Or does ‘beautiful’ as predicate differ from subject to subject, or according to the subjective concept of the object?

Once we accept this position that beauty differs with the seer’s eye or the listener’s ear, it is no use attempting to arrive at any general rule or any science of beauty. In the Kavyamimansa of Rajashekhar there is an interesting passage, which can be rather freely translated as:

‘’Palyakriti”, a Jain Acharya says- Whatever may be the nature of the object described, the beauty of a poem depends on the nature (psychological mood) of the poet. If the poet’s nature is full of Rasa, he projects that Rasa on to the nature outside. If the poet is dry and unemotional, even the most pleasant things are turned into sods.’ A man in love may praise a thing, while a man who is not attached may dislike the same, and a third person may be disinterested. For example, a disinterested person says, ‘For some people whose long nights with their beloveds are spent like moments, the moon may be a pleasantly cool thing; while for one who is separated, the same moon is as hot as an ovenful of cinders. But I do not have a beloved, nor am I separated from her, so, being, without both, this moon appears to be like a looking glass, neither cool, nor hot; neither pleasant’ nor unpleasant.’

Everything changes and is changeable. So it is neither full of good nor bad qualities.it is due to clever juxtaposition of words by an expert poet that the thing assumes properties. In the world of poetry there are no determinate values. The poets by their expression qualify the objects. One who wants to praise the moon calls it ‘Amritanshu’ (full of nectar) and the clever poet who wants to give a bad name, calls it ‘Doshakar’ (full of blemishes).

The concept of beauty in Fine Arts and Literature today is almost at crossroads: on one hand there is the atavistic pull of the elemental passions, the eternal child and the aboriginal in the artist is discarding all outer embellishments and is trying to go to the front; on the other hand the sociological and anthropological researches are digging up and raising mounds of disillusionment on both his sides, the taboo is no more a taboo and the romance is no more a romance”.

It is the time for the artists and writers to give the hallowed concept of beauty a new body, revive the soul of the Writings on Indian Art & Craft.

In an era of modern Indian art when so many companies are putting art for sale, Nazariya has taken a pledge to give the Artisans of India a platform where they can display the best of themselves. We have handpicked Indian Miniature Paintings, Ancient Indian Paintings and a collection of Indian Art Forms from the History of Indian Art that are dying. Join hands with Nazariya in bringing out the subtle message behind these artforms; the message of unity, brotherhood and community. This is Nazariya’s way of taking you on an incredible journey into India’s past, helping us create a new future.

 


India has been a country with a very rich history and a much richer heritage. The Indian heritage has been a part of many art forms which have both been brought and developed in India some of which are even born in India itself. Arabic Calligraphy forms an integral part of this heritage. It was introduced in India around the 7th century by early Arabic traders. The core purpose of its existence is Spirituality and was initiated for preserving the scripts of the Holy Quran. With the establishment of Delhi Sultanate in India, Arabic Calligraphy developed analogously and has emerged as a mainstream art. Being a part of the Delhi Sultanate, Qutubuddin Aibak decorated and covered Qutub Minar with intricate carvings and verses of Quran.

The art form majorly flourished in the reign of the Mughals. It has been highly showcased in the monumental heritage like Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi and coins recognized by the Mughals. Therefore with the establishment of Muslim rule in India not only a diversity of culture was established but also the fresh ink of Arabic Calligraphy was initiated to last persistently. Arabic calligraphy is the virtue of the religious and spiritual aspect of life and is a simple yet highly artistic illustration of text from the Holy Quran.

In today’s scenario Calligraphy has become even more precious since Artists practicing this art are now rare to find and the ones  practicing it are continuously losing their demand and respect in the society. Nazariya has joined hands with these artists and has taken a pledge to give them the true value for their talent.

This Eid, admire their work by getting one of their masterpieces home. Explore more about Arabic Calligraphy in the Images given below. Get a customized manuscript for yourself by these Wonderful Artisans and wish your loved ones Eid in the most artistic way ever.

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Author: Nithul
Kodugu Family Hockey Festival

Kodugu Family Hockey Festival

Image Source :: https://redscarabtravelandmedia.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/coorg-culture_men-dancing-in-traditional-attire_priya-ganapathy.jpg

There are many such extraordinarily beautiful and poignant fragments of the lives of the clans of warriors and hunters who once held this land, an evocation of a world almost dissolved by modernity. It is a world of masked and costumed spirit-mediums who prophesy and heal; of ancestors who protect and guide and, the myths and legends of a people who fought bitter battles through the centuries, to preserve the land they loved. Beneath the neat greenery of coffee, the heady fragrance of its blossoms, its showy berries, the clubs and colonial plantation bungalows, lies another, submerged Coorg.

Traditional way of dressing!

 Image Source : http://www.coorgexperiences.orangecounty.in/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Kodava-couple.jpg


When people  found their way to the hills of Coorg, over a thousand years ago, they found a wilderness so sublime, that they built small, open air shrines, and set aside large tracts of land for worship, and the land itself became for them, sacred. The only hint you will receive of this world today is the faint rhythm of drumbeats from forest groves, carried on the clear air from the valleys to the hilltops. Amongst the Coorgs, new elite emerged, of those willing to move with the times, westernised, smart, and breaking with tradition. But the spirit of Coorg survived, continuing to live in her villages. Men and women still remain fiercely loyal to their clans, and although the fighting stopped generations ago, there are echoes of history everywhere – a man’s everyday dress, now worn only on formal occasions, includes a short dagger tucked into the waistband, ready for use. A bridegroom arrives armed with a heavy war knife, putting it aside only while being blessed by elders and guests, or eating, and even within the premises of sacred shrines, there are warlike dances, striking and parrying with knives. Hunting and battle 
was the heart of their world, and is still reflected in many of their customs, even today.

 

Shrine and Practices

Shrine and Practices associated with it

Image Source : http://www.uppercrustindia.com/dynamic/uploads/_DSC5624.jpg

Kodava Wedding

Kodava Wedding

Image Source : http://www.coorgblog.orangecounty.in/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/A-wedding-is-an-occasion-to-look-forward-to..jpg


Author: Nithul Krishna

THE TRADITION

 The evolution of Kalaripayattu happened in South India. The sage Agastya Muni is believed to have created this ancient martial-arts form.  Kalaripayattu trainings are traditionally done inside the Kalari and are undertaken by trainers traditionally titled as Guru or Asan. Describing the Kalari , it has Puttara .  The Puttara is a seven tiered platform placed in the south-west corner and houses the guardian deity of the Kalari. The seven tiers symbolise the seven abilities that each person must possess: Vignesva (strength), Channiga (patience), Vishnu (power to command), Vadugashcha (the posture), Tadaguru (training), Kali (the expression) and Vakasta – purushu (sound). Other deities, most of them incarnations of the Bhagavathi or Shiva, are installed in the corners. Flowers, incense and water are offered to the deity every day.  The Guru or Asan in the Kalaris masters their students the esoteric physical and spiritual disciplines needed to master Kalaripayattu.

Agastya Muni was a short, well built man, who travelled for aeons , seeking and embracing the essence of various things that the nature exhibits . Wild life in his era happened to be quite populated in most of the areas. Unlike now, the tigers couldn’t be counted at those times,  as they reserved a gigantic population and was obviously ferocious en route the destinations , travellers were attacked by the Tigers and other animals . So, Agastya Muni evolved a system to fight the wildlife – if a tiger comes, how to handle it. As a self-defence, he taught martial arts to a few people just to manage the wildlife when they travelled, and it still lives.

Along with other art forms, which were perceived and enjoyed Kalaripayattu had an enormous consideration and was encouraged as an art form by its exponents. Art for entertainment has always thrived, even in tough economic times. But with Kalaripayattu the story has been different. It is slowly losing its original structure, due to lack of application in the present world.

Image Source: CVN Kalari

THE ARTISANS

The teacher in The Kalari is called Guru or Asan. Teachers of Ezhuthu Kalari or EzhuthuPalli too were known as Asan or Ezhuthassan. The traditional astrologer casteGanaka orKaniyar were the Preceptors of fencing techniques. They are still addressed by the title Panickar in certain regions of Kerala. The Kaniyar community of Kerala, particularly central and northern region, by virtue of their past traditional occupation as teachers of a martial art (Kalari) are commonly known as Panicker. The northern style was practiced primarily by the Nairs and the Thiyyas, the two communities associated with the martial arts practice in Kerala as well as some Mappilas and Saint Thomas Christians. The southern style, called Adi Murai, was practiced largely by the Nadars and has features distinguishing it from its other regional counterparts. Northern kalaripayattu is based on elegant and flexible movements, evasions, jumps and weapons training, while the southern “Adi Murai” style primarily follows the hard impact based techniques with priority in empty hand fighting and pressure point strikes. Both systems make use of internal and external concepts.

Some of the flexibility training methods in northern Kalaripayattu are applied in Kerala dance forms and Kathakali dancers who knew martial arts were believed to be markedly better than the other performers. Some traditional Indian dance schools still incorporate Kalaripayattu as part of their exercise regimen.

Weapons used in Kalaripayatttu

   Kalaripayattu had its major transition in China. When people went to China, once they crossed the Himalayas, they faced wild men who were always looking to attack the traveller. So what they had learned to handle the wildlife, they used it on wild men. Once they started using it on people, you will see a distinct transformation in the martial arts. From a very crouching kind of martial art to a “standing up” kind of martial art is what you will see from India to the Chinese and further into South-East Asia. So there came an evolution, which sought different techniques and the use of different weapons.

The Kettukari

Image Source: http://www.swiss-karate.com/site/fr/img/shop/Kobudo-Kettukari.jpg

This turns out to be the first weapon of choice . A long stick of length longer than the body length , and is wielded in large circular movements


The Ceruvadi

Image Source: http://balikalari.noads.biz/images/STICKFGT.JPG

A Ceruvadi is basically a short stick which is used to teach the students how to act in a fight with fast moving weapons . Its strikes and manoeuvres are performed as swift as possible. This eradicates the fear in the students of being in the vicinity of potential danger .


The Otta

Image Source: http://uwm.tv/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/oldest-wma-weapon.jpg

It is a short curved stick . The otta signifies the downward flowing energy , which is used for attacks performed from down to up . It is majorly used to penetrate most of the Marmas or vital point of Human Body .


The Urumi

Image Source: Deadliest Warrior Wikki

Urumi is an integral and a significant weapon in the fight . It is a hilt with a flexible blade of at least one and half metres . The weapon is wielded in circular movements around the body .The weapon seeks an unusual pace midway and forms a shield making it difficult for the opponent to figure out the weak points of the fighter .


The Venmezhu

Image Source: http://balikalari.in/images/axe.GIF

Venmezhu or the axe is used to chop through the armour . It has the ability to break the bones easily. This turns out to be an efficient combination weapon.

Apart from all these main weapons , the applications stand out to be unique and perfect when compared with other forms of Martial Arts. The verumkai Prayogam teaches a student how , when and where to hit a marma with bare hands. This turns out to be useful under ambushing. Another tactics, which forms a series of locks and holds resembling the wrestling , are called The ‘Kettum Piditavum’.