Pichwai art is a vibrant and colourful form of pigmented painting that is traditionally found in the Indian states of Andhra, Odisha, Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal. Originally used to decorate temples and homes, these paintings have now found their way into sarees, kurtas and shawls.
History of Pichwai
The Vaishnavas of the Vallabhacharya school were the first to introduce Pichwai art in Nathdwara, Rajasthan. These paintings typically depicted stories of Lord Srinath Ji and were displayed in temples. Today, some of these early Pichwai paintings can still be found in temples in Nathdwara, created by the Jangad and Gauda castes.
Pichwai paintings depict a variety of stories, including the life of Lord Krishna, Shrinathji, Vallabhacharya's family history, cows, lotuses, and other beautiful patterns from nature.
The technique used in Pichwai art involves starching the fabric, usually a thick woven cotton cloth, and then using binders and adhesives to apply the colors on the surface. The pigments used are derived from mineral compounds and plant materials such as copper acetate, lapis lazuli, mercury sulphide, indigo, and lamp black. The painting brushes are made from goat hair and squirrel hair for finer lines.
Styles and Themes
Pichwai paintings come in a variety of styles and themes. Some popular styles include the Rasleela, depicting Lord Krishna's dancing with the Gopis, the Giriraja Pichwai, showing Lord Krishna carrying the mountain Govardhana, and the Morbuti, which portrays 12 peacocks dancing for the attention of a flock of peahens.
This traditional form of painting on cloth with vegetable dyes and mineral compounds is unique in many ways and is now becoming increasingly popular with fashion designers and home décor brands. From the walls of temples and homes, it has transcended to clothing, instilling artistic consciousness in the minds of people and providing an understanding of various folk and tribal forms of India.