Pata-chitras, or paintings on cloth, belong to a very old tradition in the north-east of India and they depict a number of themes; this one depicts a scene from the life of Krishna with the gopi maidens in the forest of Vraja (or Vrindavan).

This group of painted cloths is not particularly significant in terms of their provenance or art historical or artistic merits, although one piece appears to be of an earlier date than the three other pieces. Their interest lies in their immediate impact on the viewer and the storytelling opportunities they offer. The function of these pieces is to show the contemporary interpretation of the art schools, rather than to act as examples of the art schools themselves, but they are very nice for developing storytelling programmes.

Catalogue Entry
This patachitra or painting on cloth depicts the teenage Krishna enchanting the female cow herders or gopis with his flute playing. He is standing in his characteristic stance with his right leg crossed over his left and he wears a yellow dhoti or waistcloth. The scene is framed by a border of flowers and foliage.

This is another interpretation of Krishna the much loved Hindu God. The practice of creating patachitras in Orissa focusing on the life of Krishna has developed as a result of the famous Jagannath temple in the coastal town of Puri, Orissa. This is one of the major pilgrimage sites for Krishna in his Jagannath form (see, 543 / 2006 / 4 / 2) and paintings like these along with schematic drawings of the temple complex have been created for centuries as pilgrim souvenirs. Today, these brightly coloured paintings can be brought by any tourist visiting the area. Western tourists cannot enter the Jagannath temple complex, so this piece is likely to have been bought in the outlaying areas or at one of the ‘craft villages’ that tourists are taken to, which is my reasoning for not noting the place of production as Puri, but instead noting it as the main city of Bhubaneswar.
I have my doubts that this canvas has been prepared in the historical way using tamarind, powder and cloth (see the difference in the paint quality between this piece and 543 / 2006 / 4 / 2) and I would suggest this piece has been made using poster paints on cloth. The date is very late 20th century and not mid 20th century as noted on the website.

Object Summary

Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Religion and magic
Collection Area Region
cotton | sizing | tamarind gum | chalkstone powder | pigment
Common Name
Simple Name
Period Classification
Modern (1945-)
Production Town

Production County
Production Country
Production Person Initials

Production Person Surname

Production Year Low

Production Year High
pre 2006

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painting on cloth