The History of Pichwai paintings – Need to know

India is known as a country with an immensely rich and diverse cultural history. Every part of the country has some sort of craft engraved with the mythology that is orchestrated in the form of paintings. The country has given birth to a variety of distinctive painting styles that are predominantly prevalent across various regions. Each of these art forms represents a plethora of tradition, customs, and ideologies passed on from one generation to the other.

One such art form is the pichwai painting. Originated over almost four centuries ago, in the town of Nathdwara near Udaipur in Rajasthan, India, the Pichwai is a style of painting that celebrates tales from the lives of Lord Krishna. The life of Krishna is well reflected in the vivid, distinct and enchanting Indian Traditional Art forms and crafts and so is with the pichwai.

Covered in mischief, wisdom and the ultimate truth and goal of life, these paintings are a celebration of one of the most dynamic incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Visually stunning, Pichwai paintings are immaculately intricate with their details and colours and are mostly made on clothes. The creation of Pichwai paintings may take months, immense skills and unmatched precision. This is so because these visually intricate pieces need the minutest of details painted with unparalleled precision. 

The evaluation of the pichwai paintings: 

There’s no doubt to the fact that the art of Pichwai originated a long time back. They were initially used as wall hangings behind the main deity of Krishna in the temples of Nathdwara. Though the pichwai paintings originally started through the narration of the stories related to Lord Krishna, with gradual commercialization, a myriad of secular themes have also begun to be incorporated in the Pichwai style of painting.

From offline to online stores, these beautiful pictures have found themselves in almost every sphere of commerce because of their unstoppable demand. What sets the pichwai paintings truly apart and have them this well-loved and accepted even after centuries is the splashes of colourful and intricate works of art wrapped up in concealed symbolism which is embellished with artistic motifs. A fine example of spirituality in art, these paintings have helped people over generations to find peace and a motif. 

The characteristic features of the Pichwai style of painting:

An Indian folk art, the pichwai paintings are sure-shot masterpieces. They are not only painted in the bright splash of colours which takes months of hard work, but it also embodies the religious sentiments and beliefs that bring you closer to Lord Krishna, his wisdom, warmth and piousness.

Listed below are some of the most distinct characteristics of the Pichwai paintings that sets them apart from other folk related paintings in India. 

  • Main Character & Themes: the main character of the Pichwai paintings is Lord Krishna. There is a shift in the themes and the stories as they vary from Lord Krishna childhood tales, Radha Krishna paintings and various festivals celebrating the aura of Lord Krishna. The festivals included in these paintings are Janmashtami, Govardhan Puja, Sharad Purnima, Holi, Annakut and so on.
  • Lord Krishna, the ninth avatar of Lord Vishnu, was immersed in knowledge, compassion and love. The protector of the universe had endless amount of stories throughout his life which is celebrated via these paintings. 

Materials used:

The pichwai paintings were originally painted on handspun starched cotton fabric. Then the decorative and beautiful images were carefully created over these materials. The images were then painted with completely organic and natural colours, paints and natural brushes gave their holy status and the religious sentiments attached to them. 

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