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Leaf Paintings: Pioneering Odisha’s Shrinking History

One of the most antiquated specialties of the world, palm leaf paintings flourishes in Odisha. Called Talapatrachitras, the craftsmanship has arrived at new statures in the state.

Historical Beliefs

In ancient times, messages were composed on the palm leaf. Step by step the pattern to brighten the content with pictures started and it turned into an art in itself. The artform is polished by the artisans essentially in Puri and Cuttack.

The etchings catch the subjects of Gods and Goddesses figures with subtleties dress, creatures, blossoms and trees. Radha and Krishna, Durga, Ganesha and Saraswati are the most popular. Stories and episodes of Mahabharat, Ramayana and different legends are likewise scratched. The works of art and drawings additionally present astounding scenes of nature.


The palm leaves are dried under sun for a few months. They are sliced to the necessary sizes, absorbed in water for quite a long time and turmeric, guaranteeing the long last of the palm leaves and the composition. When the leaves are dried, they are fit to be painted. The palm leaves are integrated to frame a crisscross type of a parchment. When the palm leaves (strips) are integrated a scene from one of the conventional stories is portrayed in the drawing.

The drawing is finished with suitable components that identify with nature. The artwork on palm leaves is an interesting procedure, in contrast to the standard works of art, a sharp pointed iron instrument is utilized to carve the drawing on the fragile surface of the leaf, ensuring that it doesn’t turn out badly or the leaf doesn’t break, the shading is spread or scoured everywhere throughout the leaves with the assistance of bit of cotton fabric.

Palm Leaf

The parchment is purified and cleaned with fabric giving it a fine dark shading to the cut lines leaving the remainder of surface clean. The craftsmen give it a stencil like appearance. This requires a lot of exactness and expertise, as the palm leaf is fragile. Such perfectly situated patterns make the composition considerably unpredictable.

At times the craftsmen use shading to embellish the artistic creation by shading with normal colours. White, dark, red, blue and yellow are mostly put to use. The shading white is set up from conch shell, ash from light that is light dark with oil makes dark shading. Hues from vegetables are separated too, for green shading green leaves like neem are bubbled and blended in with water and gum to set up the shading. Expansion of shading and cut out strategy is on another level.

Palm Leaf Findings

Palm leaf copies of Odisha incorporate sacred texts, pictures of Devadasi and different mudras of the Kama Sutra. A portion of the early revelations of Odia palm leaf copies also show compositions like Smaradipika, Ratimanjari, Pancasayaka and Anangaranga in the Odia and Sanskrit.

State Museum of Odisha at Bhubaneswar houses 40,000 palm leaf manuscripts.Most of them are written in the Odia content, however the language is Sanskrit. The most seasoned original copy here has a place with the fourteenth century yet the content can be dated to the second century.

The Modern Outlook

Today palm lea paintings and inscriptions are produced in Puri disrict as well as in and around Cuttack. People can buy such carvings from various exhibitions organized by the stae government as well as private parties all around the year. In addition, artists have started to embrace the digital revolution by selling paintings online.

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