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Pithora Paintings

In the Barron’s Insurance Dictionary, Maslow’s hierarchies of needs of human beings are water, food, clothing and shelter and our Gujarat government offers assistance in all the spheres to its citizens. Water has never been a problem. For clothing purposes, weaving, handicrafts, embroiders, cloth printings and a vast number of saris like Patola, and Bandhani will suffice to cite as examples. As far as earning capacity of food is concerned, sky is the limit. Pottery, terracotta art, beadwork, metal utensils, and extraordinary Namda art will give a helping hand to the aspirant. As for sheltering, the house-turned homes through the lovely Pithora paintings are the answer.

Any amount or praising the beauty of this mural will be an understatement. It is a form of Folk art Gujarat. Mankind’s earliest expression of creativity still exists in the form of a Pithora mural, and this is one of the biggest works of its type in the forum of the anthropology of human culture. Whether a Pithora mural is adorning the front of a huge store, or decorating the interior wall of a business tycoon’s house or the auditorium of a huge Chamber of Commerce Hall, it is capable of transporting us back to the dawn of creative expressionism. The lucid usage of color and abstract usage of form is capable of transporting the connoisseur of art to pine for the hill sides and the glorious countryside. As of now, the ritual Mural painter has begun gaining acceptance as an integral urban design element painter for his style and depiction with great visual appeal.  

What are the contents taken up for drawing the Pithora mural? Elements from  folk lore, tribal legends, fantasy, stunning silhouettes of galloping horses, birds, hills and topography sharing space with netherworld, men and women, all to create a mythical imaginary world taking the onlooker to an ethereal level. Blues, yellows and reds create their own combination of colors, unseen by us in natural world. An appeal seems to be emanating from the mural, full of raw energy, beyond the borders of the painting and its limits. As far as the garden murals are concerned, they are also capable of drawing us into a world of fantasy and tales surrounding the spaces. On the other hand, Pithora mural painting with a white or lusty background generates a village like atmosphere complementing the interior space.

Traditional Trivia

In Vadodara district, in Chhota Udaipur region, the Pithora is a folk art form originating from an ancient ritualistic tradition of mural paintings initiated within tribal customs and beliefs. Pithora Dev is the principal deity of Rathwa community, though other adivasi communities like Bhil, and Naiks also are traditional painters and story tellers.

In Rathwa community, Pithora painting is custom-made as an offering to pacify Rathwa the Godhead. Upon completion the entire painting gets the name ‘Pithora’. The painting of a mural involves a series of rituals extending to days and nights of incantations, singing and dancing, renditions of myths, oral traditions and invoking the very act of creation. By means of colorful paintings Gods are installed on the wall, representing the tribal’s cosmos and their myth of creation. Through proper invocation ceremonies, Gods are offered with food and liquor from ‘mahuda’ tree, and invited to dwell in the paintings to ensure continued divine protection.

.Among the tribal societies, Pithora Mural’s place is unique and a revered one. The younger generation of painters also is exploring ways to find out new commercially beneficial markets for these murals, though they have great respect for this form of art.

The Aura of Life on Walls : Pithora

Even in the cave paintings of thousands of years older to us in history, roots of Pthora paints are available. Rathwa community of Central Gujarat’s art tradition also seems pre historical in nature. The very crudity of the nature of Pithora paintings forms the basis of its beauty and appeal. The fact that only men are allowed to paint these Pithora murals is a historical anachronism.

Interesting Facts

Pithora mural, being a ritual painting, is assumed to usher in prosperity and good luck to the family.

(Shri Mansingh Dhanji Rathwa, of village Malaja and Shri Ciliyai Hamir Rathwa) are among the famous artists of Pithora painting. Their paintings are in many Government offices, high rise buildings, and handicraft emporiums in India and abroad. Shri Mansingh bai has painted a Pitora on Rajdhani Superfast also.

We can see such Pithora mural paintings in the Arts and Craft Mela of Gujarat and Surajkund Ka Mela. Somnath Temple walls and Gir National Park also offer beautiful glimpses of Pithora mural paintings.

Pithora mural paintings represent a great cultural landmark in the history of mankind. We must take leisurely time to go and see them and appreciate their value to derive full benefit for our soul.

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