The enchanting world of Ethnic Odia Crafts
The word patachitra is reclaimed from the Sanskrit word:Pata (meaning cloth) and Chitra (meaning painting or picture). Thus patachitra means a painted piece of cloth. The tradition of patachitra originally started with the painting of the divine trinity of Puri to be hung in the Sri Jagannath temple for the devotees during the Anasara(retirement in seclusion for a fortnight after the Snana Purnima, the bathing festival)
A lot of skill and hard labor is required to execute fine patachitra. It is accomplished by the artist using varied colours, in red, black, yellow, white and indigo blue.A canvas is prepared by stiffening the cloth cut to required size with tamarind seed glue and dried up before applying the colours. Sometimes, colours are directly applied on canvas like silk and tassar cloth. The theme of the patachitra is usually taken from the Jagannath cult and episodes of Rama Leela and Krishna Leela. The patapaintings are used as wall hangings. Circular playing cards called "ganjapa" are also made in this style which were once popular among the village folk. They are now used for covering glass tumblers.
Palm Leaf Writing
Like pata painting, Odisha is also known for painting on palm leaves, which have long been used for writing. The ancient art of palm leaf writing still survives in Odia houses and in temples. Religious texts, horoscopes traditionally written on palm leaves are still in practice. Palm leaves are considered so auspicious that printing of New Year cards and wedding invitations and important text on palm leaf is still popular in Odisha. An exclusive indigenous tradition of Odisha, the craft of palm leaf manuscripts dates back to the mediaval period. After cutting palm leaves to appropriate size, they are directly painted with brush. Sometimes, figures are drawn with an iron stylus which are called etching.
Places like Puri, Raghurajpur, Dandasahi and Bhubaneswar are the centers of patapaintings and palmleaf paintings with a hereditary family traditions since ages.