Pattachitra :: Nayagram :: Kalighat & Santhal Paintings
Pattachitra known for its brilliant play of colours, is an ancient folk art form of rural Bengal (Nayagram village, West Midnapore) that has been in existence for many centuries. The world Patta is derived from the Sanskrit word Patta meaning cloth. The painters are called Patuas.
Pattachitras are made in two formats: the vertically scrolled paintings and the horizontally scrolled ones, both referred to as Jodano or Gutano Pata and the smaller square or rectangular formats, known as Chouko Pata. Chouko Pata are painted on square pata or canvas.
An urban incarnation of the Chouko Pata in nineteenth century Kolkata (in the neighbourhood of the famous Kali temple at Kalighat) was the Kalighat Pata or Kalighat paintings. Kalighat Pata is an interesting example of how a rural folk art form reinvents itself in an urban milieu.
A very different style is to be found in the Pattas of the tribals – especially the Santals, the largest tribal community in India, who live mainly in the eastern states of India. The Jadu Patuas or Santar Patuas are a community of Patuas who have been living among or in close proximity with the tribals. The word Jadu means magic. The Jadu patas or Santal Patas (Santal Paintings) they paint are associated with the rituals and rites, legends and myths, beliefs and prejudices linked with the life cycle of the Santals and the songs are sung in the Santali language.