Various Artistic Techniques
Painting and Drawing
- Ink on paper as demonstrated by painters from Madhubani.
- Pata chitra (pigment on rag board) is one of Orissa's major art
forms. It is the painting of religious myths, legends and deities.
These paintings – produced for pilgrims to the great temple of
Jagannath in Puri – focus on the temple, the deities, and stories
from the lives of Vishnu and his incarnations.
- Phad (narrative paintings) are commissioned from a community of
professional painters and fabric-block printers (chhipa) by a bard
(bhopa). The bard sings the epic story from the painting, while
playing a simple spike fiddle. His wife or child holds an oil lamp
to illuminate the details as they unfold in the song. To keep the
audience engaged during what can be a twelve-hour, all-night
performance, the bard tells jokes and makes local references.
Despite the jokes, this is a form of worship as well as
entertainment, and the painting often functions as a portable temple.
- Miniatures were originally developed during the Mughal period,
and generally refer to a painting small in size, meticulously
detailed, and delicate in brush work. Miniatures continue to be
produced today. The colours are derived from mineral and
Sculpture and Pottery
- Pottery uses clay to produce pots on a wheel and to model
figurines. In India, terracotta is the traditional clay material
– partly because it can be produced with relatively low firing
temperatures, making it accessible to village artisans. Porcelain,
ceramics and stoneware require higher firing temperatures. All of
the pieces in the exhibition are terracotta. They are not usually
glazed, but glazes can sometimes be used in traditional Indian clay
- Metal sculpture in India is generally produced using the
lost-wax technique. This technique begins with a clay core,
surrounded by a detailed wax sculpture. A layer of mud and sand is
then moulded over the wax, with an opening made in this mud cover.
Another thicker mud coating is then applied, forming a crucible.
The object is put into a kiln, melting the original wax sculpture,
which pours out, leaving behind a hollow mud impression of the wax
design. Pieces of metal are then put in the crucible and the
sculpture is put back into the kiln. As the metal melts, it replaces
the space that was occupied by the wax. The molds are then cooled and
cracked open with a hammer. Each sculpture produce using this
technique is individually crafted, since there is no permanent mold.
- Other types of sculpture are created in materials such as wood,
stone, marble, wicker and papier-mâché. Many of these
are not meant to be permanent, and are used in ceremonies and
festivities, at the end of which they might be broken or set on fire.