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Potua-s : The traditional artists of Bengal, India

Updated on December 1, 2009

Potua-s & their art

Patochitra 1
Patochitra 1
Two Potua ladies working with a vase.
Two Potua ladies working with a vase.
Patochitra 2
Patochitra 2
Patochitra 3
Patochitra 3
Patochitra 4
Patochitra 4
Concentration : A Potua lady at work.
Concentration : A Potua lady at work.
Patochitra 5
Patochitra 5
Patochitra 6
Patochitra 6
Patochitra 7
Patochitra 7
Patochitra 8
Patochitra 8
A Potua lady drawing a Patochitra.
A Potua lady drawing a Patochitra.
Starting early : a young girl from the Potua community at her art-work.
Starting early : a young girl from the Potua community at her art-work.
Another young girl from the Potua community at her art-work.
Another young girl from the Potua community at her art-work.
A young boy from the Potua community at his art-work.
A young boy from the Potua community at his art-work.
Patochitra 9
Patochitra 9
Beautiful colored vases fromthe studio of a Potua artist.
Beautiful colored vases fromthe studio of a Potua artist.

Potua-s are traditional folk artists of Bengal. They belong to a very poor segment of the society. In religion they are somewhere midway between Hindus & Muslims, but more inclined to the latter. However, all draw pictures in a traditional way peculiar to them about Hindu mythology & different social issues. Their drawings are called “POT”-s or “PATOCHITRA”-s which they draw on a long piece of jute or handmade paper. These are about 2-3 feet broad & sometimes very long, reaching 30-40 feet. They keep these “Pot”s rolled up, only to unfurl while they are showing these to someone. The “Potua”-s roam from villages to villages & from rural fairs to rural fairs with their “Pat”-s. Unfortunately, they & their art are gradually vanishing as the newer generation of Bengali people has lost taste for such traditional art. To have some customers , the “Potua”-s are nowadays painting some other things like colorful vases also along with their traditional “Patochitra”-s. This is my humble endeavor to let the world know about them.

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    • shyamchat profile image

      shyamchat 5 years ago from Calcutta

      Very colourful . I very much enjoyed the compilation.