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Pichhwai/Painted Temple Hangings of Rajasthan

Arts, Painting, Ritual Crafts

Pichhwai/Painted Temple Hangings of Rajasthan

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Pichhwais are created for the shrine of Shri Bathji at nathdwara and other temples of the Pushti Marga. Objects such as painted wall hangings and paintings on cloth and paper are created under this craft form. Tools such as broad brushes of goat tail hair, coconut shell containers for colors, agate burnishing tool, charcoal from tamarind twigs etc. are used for the crafting process.

Real gold and stone colours are used on these cloth paintings that are intended as backdrops for the statue of the temple deity. These were originally made for different seasons and festivals but were later sold to pilgrims. A thin layer of starch is applied on the cloth and the painting is done in tempera. The themes found are from the ras leela of Sri Krishna and the gopis. Srinathji or Krishna is found in all the paintings in a typical luminous blue. These paintings are also used for story-telling purposes in the villages. The main centre for these paintings is Nathdwara and the name ‘Pichwai’ is because these paintings are hung in the temples behind (piche) the statue of the deity. Jaipur and Udaipur are the other two centres.

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