Goddess Tara - The Second Mahavidya

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Item Code: PL61
Specifications:
Watercolor on PattiArtist: Rabi Behera
Dimensions 12.0 inches X 18.0 inches
Handmade
Handmade
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fully insured
Fully insured
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
Fair trade
Fair trade
Tara, who as a rule is listed as number two among Mahavidyas, is second to none among them except Kali. Not so much in Hindu or Brahmanical pantheon as in the Buddhist, Tara has a much wider presence outside the Mahavidya-periphery. Alike she has an early presence datable to around the fourth-fifth centuries of the Common Era and emerges thus much before the Mahavidya-cult evolved. With an appearance identical to Kali she has always enjoyed considerable popularity and importance in Hindu pantheon, especially among Tantrika deities. In iconographic manifestations, like Kali, Tara is also often represented as standing on a supine body, as in this painting. Of the Tantra Tara is as potential a deity as Kali. Besides her place in Hindu tradition she is the central deity of the Buddhism, especially the Tibetan, where she is worshipped almost like a national deity. Tara also occupies a significant position and wields considerable influence in Jainism. She has strong Vaishnava links and is claimed to have been created to defeat the thousand headed Ravana.

Not merely in the Buddhist myths that portray Tara as the goddess of tempestuous seas helping the masses wade their path to safety and redemption, even in Hindu and Jain traditions she is revered as the goddess who guides out of troubles and all kinds of turmoil. Almost all theologies equate sea with life, miseries, misfortunes and trials with sea's uncertainties and upheavals, and a being, with the sailor paddling a boat across it. Thus, allegorically Tara, the goddess of tempestuous oceans, is also the goddess who helps the being wade across all difficulties and misfortunes occurring in life and attain salvation. In some texts, Tara is also seen as the potential of re-creation, which equates her with Saraswati possessing such potential in Hindu tradition. In Jain tradition Tara and Saraswati merge into each other. Here Tara has highly diversified role and form. Brahaddharma purana perceives Tara as representing time, the same as does Kali.

On the contrary, as one of the Mahavidyas, which is essentially a Hindu context, Tara is always fierce, often having a form which strikes with horror, and as exceptionally moody and harmful, holding a pair of scissors in her hands. Here in addition she also carries a sickle, lotus and bowl of fire.

This painting was created in the Vaishnava city of Jagannatha Puri.


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How is a Pattachitra painting made?

The traditional Pattachitra is a scroll painting that is done on cloth. This is revealed in the name; Pattachitra is a Sanskrit term made from two words i.e. Patta meaning cloth and Chitra meaning picture. The main subject of this painting is portraying Hindu mythological narratives, scenes from religious texts, and folktales. Pattachitra paintings are especially practiced in eastern Indian states such as West Bengal and Odisha, and also in some parts of Bangladesh. This art form is closely related to Shri Jagannath and the tradition of the Vaishnava sect. It is believed that Pattachitra art originated in the 11th century and the people of Odisha practice it even today without any discrepancy. Bengalis use these scroll paintings for ritual purposes (as a visual device) during the performance of a song or Aarti.

Pattachitra paintings are characterized by creative and traditional motifs/designs, decorative borders, and bright colorful applications. The outline of the figure and motifs are bold and sharp. Some common shapes and motifs seen in these paintings are trees, flowers, leaves, elephants, and other creatures. The artists of Odisha and Bengal still use the traditional method of painting which gives a unique look to it altogether.

1. Canvas is prepared

The process of painting a Pattachitra begins by preparing the canvas (patta). Generally, cotton cloth is used for making the canvas. The local artists dip the cotton cloth in a mixture of tamarind seeds and water for a few days. The cloth is then taken out and dried in the sun. Now natural gum is applied over it to stick another layer of cotton cloth on it. Thus a thick layer of cotton cloth is formed. This layered cotton is sun-dried and a paste of chalk powder, tamarind, and gum is applied on both sides. The surface of the cloth is then rubbed with two different stones for smoothening and it is again dried. This process gives the cloth a leathery finish and it is now ready to be painted.

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2. Natural colors are made using traditional method

The painters prepare and use vegetable and mineral colors for application in the painting. White color is made from conch shells, black is made by burning coconut shells, Hingula is used for red color, Ramaraja for blue, and Haritala for yellow.

3. Colors are filled in

The artist now makes a double-lined border on all four sides of the canvas. The local artists are so expert in painting that they do not draw figures and motifs with pencil but directly draw them with a brush. The paint brushes that the painters use are made of the hair of domestic animals, a bunch of which is tied to the end of a bamboo stick. The figures are now painted with natural colors using the indigenous brushes. The outline is thickened with black color.

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4. Painting is given a finishing

Finally, the painting is varnished/glazed to protect it from any damage and to get a glossy shine on the surface.

The making of a Pattachitra is laborious work and therefore, one painting may sometimes take over a month to complete. Due to their classical look, these paintings are admired by people from all over the world. The artistic skills used in Pattachitra are passed down from one generation to another and thus are preserved to date.

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