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‘Pichvai’ is derived from two words- ‘Pich’ meaning back, and ‘Vai’ meaning hanging.
Pichvais are a traditional Indian art form, having originated in Nathdwara, a small town in the Northern part of India. They are paintings done on large pieces of cloth, which cover the wall behind the idol where Srinath Bhagwan stands.
Srinath Bhagwan is a child manifestation of Lord Krishna, the eighth avatar of Lord Vishnu, and a supreme God in His own right.
When we first see a Pichvai, we are awed by its scale, its enormity. Then we start noticing its finer details- swirling patterns, crisscrossing grids, architecture, gopis, attendants, plants, animals, the moon, clouds, and miscellaneous recurring elements- which are all symbolic, metaphoric.
The colour of Srinath Bhagwan is almost always portrayed as Payne’s Grey or Black. This is because Krishna has been known to be a dark-skinned God. Interestingly however, Krishna in His adult form, is almost always shown as Blue.
Each pichvai takes months to make, and the details are so fine, that the artists, at some point, have to use single-haired paint brushes. Traditionally, only natural colours are used on handloom fabrics, and the artwork is hung from a rod.
These paintings are in demand now, but unfortunately, the technique and number of artists practicing this art are fading away, just like in so many other traditional Indian arts, artforms and crafts. We must support the community, and at the same time, thoroughly enjoy this royalty, this luxury of seeing this art being made fresh, exclusively and diligently.
|Dimensions||90 × 120 cm|