The adorable baala-deva (boy-deity) thumps the mridangam and dances to its sound. He is the son of Shiva-Parvati, the unmistakable elephant’s head being the most distinctive part of His iconography. On the belly of a flattened lotus bloom He dances, a foot raised above the other turned delicately sideways, as if caught in the midst of a step. His vahana, the little mouse, looks up at Him with great reverence, the offering of a miniscule laddoo in its tiny front hands.
The chaturbhujadhari (possessed of four arms) roopa (manifestation) of Lord Ganesha is something to behold. In the posterior hands He wields a noose and cradles a laddoo, while with His anterior hands He is playing the mridangam. His elephant head is turned to one side, the gaze of His wise and innocent eyes directed at the clutch of leafy lotus-buds at the tip of His trunk. From the ornate crown on His head to the embroidered dhoti and shringar on His body, the painter has executed each aspect of Ganesha iconography with precision and critical attention to detail. Rows of miniscule conchs frames the composition.
A stretch of homegrown tussar fabric makes up the canvas of this pattachitra. Patta is the name given to the homemade, fabric-based canvas on which images (chitra) of a predominantly divine theme are executed. The work of art that you see on this page - the minimalistic colour palette, the characteristic lily- and lotus-pad motifs, and the iconographical style - is a signature work of the region’s folk art.
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