Pattachitra Painting is one of the oldest and popular art forms of Odisha. Patta means Canvas in Sanskrit. Chitra means Painting. Thus Pattachitra is a painting done on a canvas.
Pattachitra Paintings are of simple themes of mythological depictions with creative motifs and designs using rich colours. The Thia Badhia, which shows the temple of Jagannath and Krishna Leela showing acts of Lord Krishna are important. Panchamukhi, depicting five-headed Ganesha, Dashavatara Patti – ten incarnations of Lord Vishnu are also popular Pattachitra Paintings.
The first in the process is to create the Canvas. Tamarind paste is prepared by soaking the tamarind seeds in water for three days. The seeds are then pounded with a crusher, mixed with water and heated to make it in a paste form. Two pieces of cloth are held together with this paste. It is then coated with soft clay powder to make it firm. Once this becomes dry, the canvas is polished with rough and smooth stones (or wood) to get the surface smooth and lathery. The canvas is ready now for painting.
Naturally available raw materials are used to prepare the paint. The main ingredient is the gum of Kaitha tree. It is the base and used for making other pigments. Powdered conch shells are used for making white colour. Lamp soot is used for making black pigment. The root of the Keya plant is used for making brush. Mouse hair is used for making finer brushes.
As with anything else, the Pattachitra paintings have also undergone a transition. Paintings are done on Tussar Silk and Palm Leaves also.