Mother Goddess Kali

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 Goddess Kali, the Hindu warrior mother-goddess due to her mysterious and potent presence in the Tantra traditions has been a chosen divinity by the classical and folk artists, who attempt to provide her unfathomable descriptions and various striking visualizations. Painted by Rabi Behra, this Maa Kali Pattachitra is one of the most mesmerizing paintings of the dark mother. 

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Item Code: PL98
Specifications:
Watercolor on PattiArtist: Rabi Behera
Dimensions 11.5 inch X 17.5 inch
Handmade
Handmade
Free delivery
Free delivery
Fully insured
Fully insured
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
Fair trade
Fair trade

An arched structure, decorated profusely in the manner of royal palaces is the abode of a blue-hued goddess Kali, whose presence contrasted by the riveting red background instantly arrests the gaze. A divine aura in yellow shades is painted behind her head, which is adorned with a regal crown and long, flowing tresses. Devi Kali in the Pattachitra wears gold ornaments as well as jewelry fashioned out of the limbs of the demons she slays. In her four hands, she carries weapons and a severed head with blood trickling from it.


The element of blood is used repeatedly in this goddess Kali Pattachitra to endow it with an ethereal animation. Blood painted with a bright red shade can be seen on the girdle of hands worn by the goddess, her lolling tongue, and the lifeless body that lies in the background. In the left part of the painting, behind Devi Kali, one can observe an animal, probably a jackal and a crow that seems to be in mid-flight. Both these animals are related to cremation grounds, “Shamshaan”, where “Shamshan-Vaasini” (“vaasini”- one who resides) Maa Kali lives.  Underneath Kali’s feet lies Shiva, the tranquility of his face complementing the exhilarating expressions of her Shakti (female potency) Kali’s visage.

The top of the arch is adorned with a pair of parrots that are attached to the Tantric goddess Matangi and Durga. Each element in this goddess Kali Pattachitra is drawn with utmost focus and using vibrant hues which have succeeded in making this a spell-binding experience of seeing (doing Darshana of)  the divine mother.

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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