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Home >> Indian Painting Styles >> Pichwai Paintings

Pichwai Paintings

Pichwai painting is a form of traditional fabric painting that is rooted in Rajasthan, India. Pichwais are more refined and detailed than Phads. They are created and used as backdrops in the Shrinathji temple at Nathdwara and in other Krishna temples. The main theme of these paintings is Shrinathji and his exploits. Pichwais are painted, printed with handblocks, woven, embroidered or decorated in appliqué. Pichwais are done in dark rich hues on rough hand spun cloth. These paintings have deep religious roots and are executed with the utmost devotion of the painters. Presently Pichwais are painted in Udaipur and Nathdwara. The pichwai of Nathdwara, is an embroidered cloth-hanging used as a decoration in temples and temple-chariots.

The temple of Srinathji has made this cloth-hanging very sacred, both as an offering at the temple and as a souvenir to take home. The outlines of the pichwai are dark and it is patterned with colourful embroidery; gold thread is used in some to highlight the design. When the pichwai is appliquéd, the background is in red cotton while the stitches are in cream, green, yellow, and black; white is used for the outlines. Gota work is done on velvet and are on appliquéd wall scrolls.

The theme of the pichwais varies according to the season and its moods. Each pichwai denotes the seva (worship) of Srinath ji in a different season. The summer pichwai has pink lotuses as the backdrop while the winter pichwai has an intricate jamawar pattern, providing the warmth needed for the season. The main pichwai that denotes the "Anukooth", the day after Deepavali when Srinath ji lifted the Govardhan parvat, has the deity in a silver poshak , exquisitely decorated with pearls, dabka, zardozi work. It is a technique that employs high relief on a stellar, going back to the Mughal times.

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