Palm Leaf Painting-The Incredible
Odisha is also known as “Utkala” which is also known for its unique art and culture. Odisha was the only state left uninvaded by Mughals. So, the art has its unique styles and designs.
During the ancient ages, the palm leaves are used to record the moments and traditional narratives to pass the knowledge to the forthcoming generations. The use of palm leaves can be witnessed in manuscripts. Palm leaf manuscripts are the ancient medium of writing in India. Even famous Indian stories were also written in palm leaves.
Palm leaf painting is the sacred art of Odisha. The accurate start of the palm leaf painting is difficult to say. Palm leaf painting is done either by etching or by painting on palm leaves.
Benudhar Mohapatra, a well-known artist of Raghunathpur, Puri district, Odisha is a well-known artist known internationally due to palm leaves painting. Palm leaves painting is also called “Talapatra Chitra”. He learned this skill of painting on palm leaves from his ancestors and has won awards for the marvellous work of Talapatra Chitra. He also trained many people of Delhi and Bombay about the methods of Talapatra Chitra and has also served his good years in Hastakala Paatli Prahishtana, Puri.
Raw Materials for Making Talapatra Chitra Painting:
The raw materials used for making Talapatra Chitra are as follows:
- Palm leaves: Palm leaves are the basic raw material that is processed to make the Talapatra Chitra.
- Turmeric:Turmeric is used to apply on the palm leaves.
- Scale: Scale is used to measure and for trimming palm leaves.
- Cutter knife: Itis used to cut the palm leaves.
- Colours: Only the primary colours are used in Talapatra painting. The black and white are the basic colour used in Talapatra Chitra.
- Paintbrush: The artist makes a thin homemade paintbrush to make Talapatra Chitra.
- Water: Water is used to soak the palm leaves and also it is used to remove the excessive colour.
- Sharp Pointed tool: The sharp-pointed tool is used for etching on the palm leaves
- Needle and thread: Needle and thread are required to tie all the palm leaves.
- Piece of cloth: A piece of cloth is required to smudge the excessive colour and water on palm leaves.
Process of Talapatra Chitra:
To make a Talapatra Chitra, the methods are as follows:
- the palm leaves are dried for two to three months under the sun.
- Then the palm leaves are cut into required sizes to make Talapatra.
- The palm leaves are soaked in water for many days and turmeric solution is applied to the palm leaves to ensure long-lasting palm leaves.
- After the leaves are dried, they are ready for the painting process.
- The palm leaves are tied to make a zigzag scroll form so that the painting can be easily done.
- After the palm leaves are tied together the drawing is done carefully with appropriate spacing and with accurate details.
- The painting on palm leaves is done with a sharp-pointed iron tool by doing etching on palm leaves which makes the painting process unique as compared to other forms of painting.
- Etching on the leaves should be done carefully so that leaves don’t break. This makes the process of painting very unique.
- The colour is rubbed on the leaves using a piece of cotton cloth so that the drawing sketches will be visible.
- Then the excessive colour is wiped off using a cotton cloth.
An artist takes many days months or years to complete Talapatra Chitra. It requires great accuracy and skill to complete a Talapatra Chitra. Sometimes the artist uses natural colours prepared by them to beautify their painting. The natural colours that are used for Talapatra Chitra are black, white, blue, red, and yellow.
- The white colour is prepared from the conch shell.
- The black colour is prepared from the lampblack mixed with oil.
- The other colours are extracted from the vegetables to prepare the natural colours. This makes the colours bright and elegant.