This is a Palm Pattachitra depiction of the 'tree of life' in all its glory--replete with luxuriant brunches, nurturing life. A tree at the centre of the painting reflects an ideal life and inspires others circling it to flourish. Intricate patterns speaking volumes of fine definition and detailing rendered in colours,put Pattachitra paintings in a class of their own.That they are done using natural vegetable colours produced from pigments of locally available flowers, berries,leaves, barks, and charcoal, by artists who remain in close proximity with nature and traditional life, gives them a rustic charm. A palm leaf etching can last up to 1000 years. The artist's eye for definition and detail adds finesse to this beautiful work of art!The intricate design on the borders and around the trees, renders the floral motif exquisite.
The decorative border not only adds finesse to the artifact, but is a marvel in itself, done on a brittle surface--a dry leaf! The intricacy of the work highlights the artist's close attention to definition and detail.
Palm leaf are first cut and boiled in water with a touch of turmeric. After drying, palm leaf strips are placed in double layers and stitch them up together to the desired length. Drawing is done thereafter in pencil, followed by etching and engraving with an iron needle. This is where the craft skills of the artisan take centre stage as every strip is minutely covered with the unfolding stories taken from the epics and Hindu mythology.
The painting is done by Praksash Kumar Maharana, a veteran Pattachitra artist of Odisha State.