Decor Heritage:Keeping Culture Alive
*A devotional backdrop;cloth painitngs that put the 3D display of deities within aconceptual framework-"The Pichwais"
*Krishna,the eight incarnation of Vishnu one of the trinity of Hindu gods is Shrinathji,venerated and defied in the picchwai painitngs,primarily for the temple in Nathdwara in Udaipur.
*Pictorialisation on cloth remains outstanding in quality and has a living custom of passing the expertise down the generations,unadulterated and with purpose of purity.
*The Picchwai was hung behind the deity much like a backdrop,a scene paint
ed on cloth which put the three dimensional representation of the object of worship within a conceptual framework.
*Myth has it that Vallabhacharya discovered the icon of Shrinathji on Mount Govardhan near Mathura,the land of Krishna and the gopis.The diety was worshipped ,because emperor Akbar,Jehangir and Shahehan were tolerant of all forms of Hindu worship and the sect flourished under the reign of those monarchs.
*But with the advent of Aurangazeb,he compelled the custodians of Shrinathji to flee to safety carrying thier diety and finally the cart carrying the image got stuck in aquagmire(wet earth) while crossing the Banas river,North Udaipur.
*Taking this adivine Omen,the devotees constructed atemple at the spot,installed the Shrinathji and the village was called Nathdwara,doorway to the lord.
*It is here that the picchwai became sanctum sanctorum of the holyplace.
*Mughal court pratices may have influenced the use of elaborate textiles like canopies and hangings.
*Albeit influenced by Mughal miniaturists,the painters of picchwais drew their inspiration and style form the Rajasthani ones.The skill is passed on to the guru shishya tradition of learning and the paint medium is a pure and real revival of the centuries old,tried and tested method of creating an authentic palette.
*It can take months to years to make a Picchwai.
*This formidable tradition continues even today with a new generation of painters devoted to the service of Lord.
An initial drawing of the Govardhan picchwai
Preliminary drawing of the Varsha Picchwai
Courtesy:Elle Decor,Summer 2006
Text Courtesy:Malavika Singh,Image courtesy"Udaipur Plus,Mapin Publishers formt he publication Picchwai painting Tradition of Rajasthan by Desmond Lazaro