History And Interesting Facts About Pichwai Paintings

India is home to some of the most artistic and precision laced craft since time immemorial. With every part of this massive country soaking in some major inspiration ranging from folklores to mythology to religious and political influence, the variety in the arts and crafts that every section of the country provides is commendable. Plummeted to the heights of unhindered creativity, these art forms have stood the test of time and have been a part of a commendable legacy. Enriched with diversity and exclusivity, various art forms hailing from various spheres of this country have time and again left the general masses dumbfounded. Such is the age-old art form called the pichwai paintings. In the Sanskrit language, the word Pichwai when broken down resorts to 'pich' meaning ‘back’ and 'wai' meaning ‘hanging'.

The legacy behind the rich history of the Pichwai paintings :

Mythology and religion have been an inseparable part of Indian culture. So much so that this land is home to some of the world's oldest and largest epics of all times, the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The tales of the Mahabharata center around the Hindu God named Lord Krishna. A legacy of the pichwai paintings that ranges back to approximately 400-year ago, originated in the holy town of Nathdwara near Udaipur, Rajasthan. Pichwai art was crafted to form to honor the life and portray the tales and effectively narrate the whole life of the ever-charming Lord Krishna, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

The devotional portraits are full of colors that depict the beauty of life and hence are monumental in celebrating the life of Lord Krishna and his miracles right from his childhood mischiefs to the adult preaching. Throughout the county there have been various art forms to honor Lord Krishna, pichwai stands tall and different because of its unique styling and diverse usage of bold yet subtle colors.  In the late 16th century, the pichwai art forms were at their peak. With artists creating pictorial illustrations on cloth and hanging on the wall to decorate the temples of Shrinathji, the handmade pichwai paintings had become an alluring ritual.

Some interesting facts and trivia about the pichwai painting:

  • The most prominent figure in the pichwai art forms that of Shri Nathji who is believed to be the 7-year-old self of Lord Krishna. The tale of Govardhan mountain being lifted by the young Lord Krishna to protect the residents against the wrath of Lord Indra is perhaps the most common tale depicted by this art form.
  • Various life events of Lord Krishna are showcased in these paintings. Likewise, various seasons were also depicted by a myriad of colors. The radiant pink was used to showcase summer whereas beautiful peacocks were drawn to portray the pleasant monsoon.
  • These paintings take an immense amount of effort, experience, and a good number of months to be crafted to perfection. This sacred art form has passed down for generations from the guru (Master ) to his shishya (disciple).
  • Unlike other art forms, it is impossible to touch up the pichwai art form due to their intricate and fine detailing. Natural colors obtained from the likes of coal, gold, silver, indigo, zinc, and saffron are only used in these ethnic paintings.

The relationship between pichwai paintings and home decor :

The sole purpose of art forms was known to be the purest form of expression. With time, these pichwai paintings have made a stronghold when it comes to the field of home decor. These paintings have made their way into the happy places of one's home starting from living rooms to giant hallways to even bedrooms. There are two popular forms of pichwai paintings, one is Kota Bundi and another is Nathdwara. A good pichwai painting that is laced with authenticity and ethereal magnificence which can amuse any onlooker, takes almost three to nine months to get ready. For a painting that is timeless in beauty, pichwai paintings are what you have been looking for.