Traditional craftsmanship

Traditions & Practices
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Palm Leaf Paintings

Palm leaf paintings are very ancient in Odisha. The Palm Leaf illustrations are mainly of two types, simple engravings or illustrations in pure line on palm leaf and engraving with colour fillings. In these engravings, colours are muted and play a very minor part. Where colours are at all applied, they are just painted either to emphasize the inscriptions, or to fill up blank space.

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Pata Chitra

"Patta" literally means "cloth" and "Chitra" means "picture" in Sanskrit. The Pattachitra painting tradition is closely linked with the worship of Lord Jagannath in Odisha. The subject matter of Patta chitra is limited to religious themes.

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Papier Mache of Tamil Nadu

In Tamil Nadu waste paper pulp is hand beaten into a soft substance mixed with local clay to be rolled out into thin malleable sheets. Life sized dolls, scenes from the epics, icons of gods and goddesses, masks and animal forms are among the many colourful papier-mache toys handcrafted in Tamil Nadu. After fashioning the form of the article out of papier-mache pulp, the articles are dipped into a thin solution of paper pulp and white clay and then painted in oil or water colour.


Contributed by: Vanitha and Team, CEE South

Patola Silk Textiles of Patan

Double Ikat Silk Textiles of Patan, Gujarat are famous as 'Patola'. They are produced in the cities of Patany and Vadodara, situated in Patan and Vadodara districts respectively, in the state of Gujarat. There are only four existing Patola-making families striving to save the craft in the face of many threats - huge investment of time and money, low returns, and lack of interest for continuing the craft among the younger generations. Historically, Patola was a prestigious item of Indian export to Indonesia and Malaysia where it was used as a symbol of power and authority and even attributed protective, curative and magical powers. Patola silk textiles are produced by resist dyeing of warp and weft threads before weaving, a complex process known as double ikat which is also practised in other parts of India and abroad. However, Patola of Patan (Gujarat) is unique in its geometric floral and figurative patterns executed with precision of design planning, and meticulously accurate weaving alignment which results in precise outline of the patterns. This requires immense visualisation and coordination skill. Watch Video

Source IGNCA Inventory of ICH, Janapada Sampada Division, IGNCA

Contributed by Aditya, CEE Ahmedabad

Pattamadai Mats

Pattamaadai mats are silk mats also called Pattu paai that originated in a small village in Thirunalveli district of Tamil Nadu. The art and craft of weaving and blending intricate designs of Pattamadai mats are considered unique to this region. Made of a special kind of grass called "Korai/Gorai"- it is also called is also called Korai or Gorai paai. The conventional method of mat making is a lengthy processes of drying, soaking, splitting and dyeing the grass.

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Phad Scroll Paintings and Their Narration

Traditional phads from Rajasthan are large paintings on cloth portraying the epic lives of village gods, usually protectors of cattle. Vegetable colours are used on cloth and paper. Vibrant colours and bold lines, two dimensional treatment of figures, and the entire composition arranged in sections, are characteristic of these paintings. Shahpura in Bhilwara and Udaipur are the main centres.

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Pottery Works of Vellore

Vellore in north Arcot district of Tamil Nadu is famous for black and red earthenwares. Usilampatti in madurai district has black pottery painted over with a special yellow substance which has an old tradition. Panruti in south Arcot is famous for a large variety of clay work that include small and large figures of deities, toys, etc. Karigiri in south Arcot is most famous for its unique style of pottery.

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