Origin: The origin of Paitkar paintings of Jharkhand can be traced to the religious customs associated with West Bengal. West Bengal being an adjacent state of Jharkhand, plays a significant role in the lineage of these paintings. That is, popular Hindu Goddesses in the Bengali household called Goddess Mansa (Goddess of Serpents) is very closely associated to the heritage of these paintings.
The religious customs of yajnas and giving alms to Hindu gods and goddess is linked with Paitkar paintings of Jharkhand. Centric around Hindu epics, these paintings depict the tales of Mahabharata, Ramayana, Kali song, Manasa song etc. Popularly known as the scroll paintings of Jharkhan, these paintings get their name from their character of storytelling.
Present Day: In the 19th century, demand for Paitkar Paintings started diminishing. Amadubi, the village of Paitkar houses more than 100 artisans who reply only on this art for their livelihood. In Amadubi, it is believed that only 40-45 houses are practicing Paitkar although the entire villagers knows this art. The count of artist practising Patikar is shrinking. Skilled Patikar makers switched to other labour intensive jobs such as carpentry, murti-making, tailoring, agricultural labour, repairing work etc.
The Government adopted various steps to preserve and encourage this craft. One such step was to declare Amadubi as the village for rural tourism. This initiative was started to aid artists in promoting their work. Otherwise, these humble were failing in marketing their paintings. Second step implemented by the Government was to open a training school for this art. The reason behind this was to educate the next generation on this art.
Recent years have brought along an increase in the demand for this craft from Indian and international marker.
Procedure: Patikar paintings are made using water- based colours. These colours are natural and are extracted from local stones, plant leaves etc. Fewer colours are used in this form of painting. The main tints used are red, yellow and blue. All the other colours are derived by mixing these primary colours.
In the bygone era, Olive green, deep brown and black dominated the Paitkar painting. Years later, artists started using other colours such as Indigo, Ochre yellow etc. While painting religious or epic stories, red is the dominant colour. On occasions, painters will leave their paper as blank or paper white to show white hue. They leave the paper blank instead of painting white colour.
The form is simple with thick contour lines. Most of the painted space is inhabited by human characters. In this form of painting, the eyes are always elongated. Artists usually go for spontaneous lines that have angularity. Only in the 20th century, did this painting adopt painted face.
The Paitkar artists opt for simple outlines and representational lines to paint. While making this, attention is given to simplification of volume and colours this eliminates shading.
These paintings usually depict flora and fauna, legend and folktale, traditional Hindu epic and festivals and fairs
Bring Home Paitkar Paintings of Jharkand: Artisan exhibition and handloom shops have a splendid collection of Paitkar Paintings of Jharkand.