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Five Endangered Indian Painting Styles

Updated on October 25, 2017
Deepika ojha profile image

Deepika loves to read , write and explore about art and craft work of different areas.

Roghan Paintings

Roghan paintings are a unique and very different hand created fabric paintings. This is a very intriguing and enthralling style of paintings, in which we generally use an artificial dye which is prepared by boiling the oil of linseed castor seeds or sunflower seeds and pouring this into the water and making the paste. The paste is then mixed with chalk, color pigment and a binding agent that generally make it a strong thick dye which, with a hard stick of metal block or rod used to put color in paintings.

In the Process of making a painting, Artisans usually take the thick paste into their palms and then take fabric and make different traditional and stylish design or motifs with stick and dye then fold the fabric and take its mirror image on other side and put it for drying. The output design pattern came on both side is so elegant and graceful.

The motif especially includes geometric and flower design based on the theme of life, mainly found in yellow and blue in colors. These design patterns are generally done on walls, tablecloth, clothes, sarees, curtains or long skirts border. It totally gives the full impression of embroidery on clothes.

The scope of these paintings is very narrow as they are done only one place in India i.e. Gujarat. These are endangered paintings and need to popularize.

Pattachitra paintings

Pattachitra paintings are exquisite and thousand years old traditional and one of the oldest scroll- based paintings mainly found in the state of Orissa, India. Orissa is well – known artisan state and Pattachitra is one of the famous paintings painted in Orissa. Pattachitra is a Sanskrit word where "Patta" means canvas and "Chitra" mean picture.

Pattachitra painting is mainly done on cotton cloth as canvas but it is also done on palm leaves mainly found in the Raghurajpur village which is also called artisans village of Orissa.

Pattachitra painting process includes the whole family. The women, first prepare the glue put on canvas and apply color called fill-in process.Then the master people man of the family make the creative designs and make borders and give final – finishing to paintings.The color used is natural colors generally red, yellow, green and black mostly generated from natural pigments.

Pattachitra Painting Style


Canvas is prepared first with a mixture of chalk and glue of tamarind seeds, and then the cloth is dried. From this process, a leathery finish comes on canvas on cloth which easily absorbs paints and colors. Painting is then taken on fireplace and bed as opposed to heat on the surface of fine lacquer.

The brush of painting is mainly prepared with buffaloes hair for thick brush and squirrel hair for light brushes.

The design and creative motifs of Pattachitra painting are mainly inspired by Hindu mythological themes and stories of Hindu deities, pictures and figures are mainly related to Vaishnavism religion themes.

‘Lord Jagnath’ who is also called incarnation of Lord Krishna mainly worshipped in Orissa and on ‘lord Jagnath Fair Day ‘ which comes once a year the three chariots of deities were decorated with these Pattachitra paintings called ‘Anasan – Patti’ in Orissa.

Pattachitra Art from Orissa, India


Phad Paintings

Phad paintings are the extremely exquisite paintings mainly found in the Bhilwara district of the state of Rajasthan. The Joshi's of Bhilwara is family practicing had to work from generation. Shri Lal Ji Joshi a world-renowned Phad artist and Padma Shree and Shipgram Award Winner is also from there.

Phad is the style of religious scroll painting and also Folk Painting.This Painting is done on a long piece of cloth as canvas known as Phad in the local language. In Sanskrit, Phad means ‘Patt’ the painting are called ‘Phad’ paintings. The theme and creative design on these painting mainly involve the stories of folk deities – Pabuji and Devnarayan.

Pabuji Phads are normally 15 feet long, while Devanarayan is 30 feet long. Traditionally a Phad painting is 30 feet long and 5 feet wide and general themes include stories from the life of local heroes ‘Rajput Clan’ local deities, Pabuji, Devanarayan, Ramdevji, etc.

The Bhopas are the priest singers or tradition singer who carry these had painting as mobile temples of folk deities of Rajasthan and sing the song and explain the stories of pads to local people with violence.

Sometimes, the painter makes a painting on demand of Bhopas. The making of Phad Painting is adorably unique. On the commencement of painting Bhopas are called and then ritual of offering comment to goddess Saraswati (Goddess of Education), the border outline of painting is drawn by using blocks then only outline design of figures of animals and deities are made as a free hand sketch. The empty space is filled with flora and fauna.

The first stroke of color is done by virgin girls from a family of artist or family of higher class and only one color is applied at a time.

Natural Vegetable color is used however nowadays earthen colors mixed with gum, water and color are also used. All figures in the painting are facing each other just like telling a story earlier, these painting when becoming old immersed in Pushkar lake but now the market of these painting is increased and they are in demand.

We need to preserve these style of paintings as these are on the verge of extinction. Today only 13 Phad artist in India is remaining

Kalighat Paintings

Kalighat Paintings is also an auspicious and unique traditional style of paintings which is originated, nearly in the 19th century at Kali Temple in Kolkata, Bengal.

In the 19th century, the traditional art of scroll painting on canvas is very popular among rural people who usually practice this scroll painting and sing songs of deities depicted in these scroll paintings and move from one place to another.

The themes of Kalighat Painting as the name suggest includes the painting of Hindu deities such as goddess Kali, Durga, Laxmi and themes related to Hindu mythology.

The painting gets modernized in British rule in Bengal and adopts new development style. Britishers also open a school for learning of Kalighat Painting and this is also the first modern school of painting.

A Kalighat Painting of goddess Durga


Kalighat school is a unique blend of two styles of painting original and accidental styles of painting and this gives popularity to Kalighat artist of the rural and local region.

The method of making these painting is simple. first, they drew the sketch of painting on canvas by pencil. canvas can be cloth, paper or wood then they fill wet colors and let them dry.

The color used is modern colors and watercolors with gems and natural colors also. This painting gets the modern look when the artist started painting of unique themes like capture daily life and stories of local and Indian war-time legends.

Kalighat Painting of goddess Kali


KalamKari Paintings

"Kalamkari" or "qalamkari" is a type Indian Painting mainly done on hand-printed or block printed cotton fabric. This specular types of painting are mainly found in India and Iran.

Kalamkari word originated from the Persian language where "Kalam" means pen and "Kari" meanS craftsmanship or painting drawing with the pen. In these painting, natural dyes are used to color these paintings.

Different kinds or styles of Kalamakari are as follows

  • Sri kalahasti
  • Machlipatnam
  • Karuppur style

In old days, a group name in local language as "chitrakatha" group which is a group of singers,musician, painters moved from village to village and depict village dwellers the great and valour stories of hindu mythology.

They carry clothes as canvas and on the spot with use different color pen they make very stylish paintings and then fill colors in them using natural dyes extracted and made from plants and thus the paintings are called Kalamakari.

This art is started in karuppur village of Thanjavur district during Maratha rule. This art is on peak in the times of Golconda sultan in Hyderabad.Then the Mughal patronized this art in coromadal and Golconda province and In modern times this art is mainly practiced in Andra pradesh state.

This technique involves natural dyes for color which are obtained by extracting colors from various roots, leaves of plants. Then that color is mixed with mixtures of iron , copper and alum .cowdung, seeds of plants and flour is also used in mixture to make natural dyes thick. along with that myrobalan chemical used with buffloe milk to remove foul smell of cowdung from natural dyes. The themes of these paintings indcludes ramayan, mahabharat , budha charitra stories.

Kalamkari Painting


© 2017 Deepika ojha


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      2 years ago

      Nice style of desciption in brief


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