Natural pigments on paper pasted on cloth
a) 95 x 21.5 in (241.3 x 54.6 cm)
b) 68 x 16.5 in (172.7 x 41.9 cm)
(Set of two)
This lot will be shipped unframed
The history of Patachitra or scroll paintings of Bengal, go back to almost two thousand years. The scrolls consist of the picturisation of scenes from stories, usually epics like the Ramayana or folklore. Muslim/Sufi traditions were also depicted. These days, however, the patuas also depict tales from history, current affairs and contemporary concerns like global warming or terrorism, improvising the lyrics for the accompanying songs. Rural bards and storytellers would travel from village to village or to weekly haats (village markets or fairs), where a principal singer would narrate the story through a song, accompanied by the scroll being unfurled with the corresponding picture frame depicting the scene. This practice can thus be deemed to be one of the earliest forms of audio-visual entertainment.
Patachitra of Bengal, is usually made on layers of cotton cloth glued together with a natural glue and chalk to create a leather-like surface. They are also made on paper panels stuck together, backed by cloth from old saris to strengthen the panels.
The Patuas take on the title of Chitrakar or painter. They are untrained artists, picking up their skills naturally. But as travelling showmen, they are complete artists – painters, singers, performers, scriptwriters – all rolled in to one. They normally reside in Birbhum, Mednipur, Hooghly, Bankura, Murshidabad and Burdwan districts of West Bengal.