What is Pichwai?
Pichwai, which literally translates as ‘that which hangs from the back’ from the Sanskrit words ‘Pich” for ‘back‘ and ‘wai‘ for ‘hanging’, are huge devotional Hindu paintings of Krishna that are typically painted on fabric. They are mostly created to hang in Pushtimarg (a subtradition of Vaishnavism) style Hindu temples, particularly the Shrinathji Temple in Nathdwara, Rajasthan, which dates back to 1672. Other than for aesthetic value, Pichwais are written to tell stories about Krishna to people who cannot read or write. Temples feature collections of various images that are updated in accordance with the schedule of holidays honouring the deity. The Adi Gaur, who claim to have migrated from Udaipur, the Jangirs, who were relocated from Jaipur and Jodhpur, and the less well-known Mewaras are the three primary sub-castes from which the Pichwai artists of Nathdwara hail. Nothing is known about these groups prior to the 19th century.
Shrinathji is the central figure in Pichwai paintings. This, more than a 700-year-old incarnation of Krishna, serves as the temple’s main deity. Other compositions depict the rites and worship that are performed there. Every celebration and ceremony practised by the faith is a lavish event, with a Pichwai exhibiting the attire, feelings, and mood, as well as the music, food, and dance that go along with worship. Pichwais frequently show the eight various adornments connected with each of the eight ceremonial viewings that Shrinathji has every day as part of his worship. The styles of worship and the objects used during festivals like Govardhan Puja, Sharad Purnima, Raas Leela, and Holi, along with other well-known holidays, are represented in Pichwai with vivid details.
Merch Ideas with Pichwai Art Motifs
What was once a religious practice has evolved into an art form and can now be found in the homes of many art lovers in the shape of paintings and wall hangings. It not only enhances your aesthetic sense but also celebrates Indian culture and traditions, which is a lovely compliment to your daily routine. We have some fun merchandise ideas for you that are influenced by Pichwai!
1. Laptop Bag with Lotus Motif
One of the most popular metaphysical analogies compares the perennial rise of the lotus to faultless beauty from a murky environment to the evolution of consciousness, from instinctive impulses to spiritual liberation. Lotus flowers and Pichwai paintings are nearly interchangeable. Lord Krishna was fond of it so much so that, in addition to carrying one in his right hand and donning a garland of them, even his bed was decked with them. Hence, the lotus is significant in Pichwai paintings.
2. Tea Coasters with Cow Motifs
Cows have long played a significant role in Indian mythology. Cows play a significant part in the Pichwai painting style as well because Lord Krishna spent his formative years as a cowherd. Pichwai in particular concentrates on the events in Shri Krishna’s life when he was seven years old.
3. Totes with Shrinathji Motifs
Shrinathji is a manifestation of Krishna who is a seven-year-old boy. The Shrinathji Temple in Nathdwara, a temple town in Rajasthan, India, 48 kilometres to the northeast of Udaipur, is the main Shrinathji shrine. The primary god of the Vaishnava sect known as Pushtimarg (the way of grace) is Shrinathji.
4. Wall poster of “Annakoot”
On the fourth day of Diwali, a celebration known as Annakoot or Govardhan Puja is held during which a pile of cooked grains and other food items are presented to Shrinathji as an act of thanks. The story of Shrinathji lifting the Govardhan mountain with his little finger to shield the citizens of Braj from the storm brought on by the Rain God Indra is one of the most significant celebrations for devotees of Krishna. Therefore, the portrayal of Annakoot has been an immensely vital aspect of Pichwai art.
5. T-Shirts with “Maha Raas” Portrayal
Another significant festival portrayed in Pichwai art Maha Raas is a festival that honours the Raas Leela, or the holy dance that Krishna performed with the Gopis (cow herding girls) of Braj. The dance represents the spiritual love and oneness of Krishna and his followers. It is believed that the Raas Leela takes place on Sharad, the first Purnima after the rainy season and the start of autumn.
Pichwai art has become well-versed in the world of fine art collectors’ interior design. Pichwai is a perfect example of balance and beauty in aesthetics, despite the fact that it contains several figurines and other objects. The Pichwai art depicts a range of narratives, such as the life of Lord Krishna, and Shrinathji, motifs such as cows, lotuses, and many other exquisite natural patterns. The practice of using mineral compounds and vegetable dyes to paint on cloth is distinctive in many ways. Fashion designers and companies that sell home furnishings have grown to love this style of art. It has spread beyond the walls of temples and homes to include our attire. This is a step towards fostering a sense of creating awareness among the populace as well as a means of comprehending India’s numerous folk and tribal traditions.
Through our online platform, we are making Pichwai art accessible to the world. You can find and enjoy many art workshops and courses coming up on Rooftop app. So if you would love to try your hands on making the Pichwai art motifs, join us at Rooftop app.