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The Traditional Comic Artwork Of Rajasthan – Phad Painting

phad painting

Phad painting is a 700-year-old tradition that has been handed down through generations. As a matter of fact, has its roots in Shahpura, close to Bhilwara, Rajasthan. This scroll painting known as Phad tells in-depth religious tales about regional deities and gods. The Bhopas and Bhopis, priest-singers of the Rabari tribe created this art form. For instance, they would sing and perform tales of their regional deities. 

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Origin And History of Phad Painting Of Rajasthan

The traditional painters moved from their original locations to Shahpura in the sixteenth century and subsequently to Bhilwara in the nineteenth. There is no written documentation of the evolution of Phad painting. In all honesty, this is due to the fact that these paintings were created for religious rather than artistic motives. 

Image credits: Hinduism Today

After sunset, the Phad paintings would be unrolled or unfolded, and the performance would then take place in front of the villagers. Perhaps for this reason the paintings are referred to as “Phad,” which in the local language means “fold.” 

About Phad Painting

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The most intricate and complicated graphic devices utilised in Indian storytelling are Phad paintings. Traditionally, they were utilised as cinema scrolls, highlighting each scene in particular. They told tales about local folk gods like Pabuji, Devnarayan, Ramdev Pir, Dharamraj, etc. The artwork can be finished in a few weeks to a few months, depending on its complexity.

Procedure To Make Traditional Phad Painting

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Phad paintings are produced on hand-woven, coarse cotton fabric that has been soaked overnight to stiffen the threads. Furthermore, after being stretched, dried in the sun, and given a sheen with a moonstone, it is strengthened with starch from rice or wheat flour. An entirely natural procedure is used to create a Phad painting. Natural fibres and natural colours derived from rocks, flowers, plants, and herbs are used. The painters make their own paints, which are combined with water and gum before being applied to the fabric.

Colours Used In Making Phad Painting

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Yellow, orange, green, brown, red, blue, and black are common hues in Phad paintings. Each colour serves a specific function: yellow is used to create the initial outline, orange is used for the limbs and the torso, green is used for trees and vegetation, brown is used for buildings, red is used for royal attire and flags as well as a thick border, and blue is used to represent water or curtains. At the very end, black is used to draw outlines.

Technique To Make Phad Paintings

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The canvas for Phad painting is utilised to its fullest extent. Since the paintings reflect old stories, they frequently feature human beings. Depending on the function and position they had, their size and colour would differ. These paintings are created on garments. The cloth is covered with a thick, fine paste of wheat/rice flour that has been made by boiling the combination in water. Furthermore, it is allowed to dry in the sun. The cloth is then massaged with a stone tool called a Mohra to bring out its lustre and smoothness. The fabric is now prepared for painting. For the acrylic appearance, earthy hues are used.

Modern Scenario of Traditional Phad Paintings

Image credits: (L) Wikidata, (R) Hinduism Today

The significance of Phad paintings has grown significantly as a result of the efforts of several Joshi family members. Some members of the family are Shree Lal Joshi, Nand Kishor Joshi, Shanti Lal Joshi, Kalyan Joshi, Gopal Joshi, Prakash Joshi, and Vijay Joshi.

Unfortunately, despite Shree Lal Joshi and his sons’ attempts to promote Phad art, there are currently fewer than 10 artists working on it full-time. The majority of interested parties visit the Joshi-founded institution to take art classes.

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