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Kalamkari and Mata ni Pachedi: Creating Sustainable and Ornamental Clothing

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Whether it is the richly decorated Kalamkari paintings from Andhra Pradesh, or the folk art of Mata ni Pachedi, Hindus have always decorated their temples and shrines with narrative illustrations that depict stories of the gods and goddesses.

Mata ni pachedi means ‘behind the mother goddess’ and is an art form from Gujarat. This art form was first brought about by the nomadic Devipujak community (originally called Vaghari) from Gujarat, who later settled in Ahmedabad on the banks of the Sabarmati River more than 200 years ago.

Essentially these are an expression of the divine cosmic energy of the mother goddess and the unified manifestation of her creativity. It is a cloth that constitutes a temple of the goddess. The common theme revolves around mother Goddess dominating the central area in her mighty form, surrounded by deities and commoners worshipping her with equal reverence.

(Source: Artist Dilip)

Though the textile’s theme may be represented in various forms, the common central feature depicted on it is the bold and fierce mother goddess Mata/Shakti sitting on her throne, or mounted on an animal, brandishing in her hands the weapons needed to kill demons. Around her are scenes depicted from mythology and usually derived from Puranic Myths. Some of the common motifs are: Ganesha, Krishna, women with flowers, trumpeters, angels, animals and birds such as peacocks, tigers, parrots etc. Each colour has its own significance: Black colour indicates an evil eye, red indicates the colour of earth as well as blood which is a sacred feature during worshipping the goddess and white indicates purity.

 

Kalamkari refers to the ancient style of hand painting done with a tamarind pen, using natural dyes. The name Kalamkari originates from Persian words qalam (pen) and kari (craftsmanship).

Kalamkari

(Source: Artist Sudheer)

Motifs drawn in this ancient art of Kalamkari, include flowers, peacock, paisleys and also divine characters from Ramayana and Mahabharata. Kalamkari colours are made mostly from vegetable dyes. The popularity of this exquisite form of painting has earned international repute for the state of Andhra Pradesh. Kalamkari art was the household occupation of several rural women and craftsmen in the ancient times and continues to be passed down from one generation to the next. Artforms like Kalamkari have started gaining more and more popularity in recent times because of their no-chemical process of creating printed textiles.

Even today, many families in Andhra Pradesh continue to practice this art and this has served as the prime source of livelihood for them, over the generations.

(Source: Artist Dilip)

Mata ni pachedi is also known as the “Kalamkari of Gujarat”, owing to its similarity to the Kalamkari practiced in Southern India and the use of pens (kalam) fashioned out of bamboo sticks, for painting.

Similar to the Mata Ni Pachedi art form, Kalamkari art specifically depicts epics and tales from Hindu mythology such as the Ramayana or Mahabharata. It also depicts Buddha and Buddhist art forms. Additionally, the Kalamkari patterns include floral motifs, animal forms, and the mehrab designs on textiles. It primarily involves earthy colors such as indigo, green, rust, black and mustard.

Both these art forms use bamboo sticks and beautiful colour patterns that flow through a variety of different themes. They are essentially storytelling mediums. Hindu Mythology is full of interesting stories of gods and their miracles or kings and their iconic wars or heroic tales of a common man. Storytellers back then used to draw characters and scenes on a piece of cloth using vegetable dyes and display them while singing out the narrative, describing the epics of Ramayana, Mahabharata, Hindu deities and so on.

(Source: Artist Sudheer)

An increasing number of people all across the globe are now discouraging the use of harmful chemicals in production and manufacturing. In such a scenario, Kalamkari and Mata Ni Pachedi emerges as the perfect craft because it avoids the use of artificial chemicals and still produces beautifully coloured fabrics.

 

~Written by Khushi Daryani

2 comments

  • Prema: February 26, 2021

    Kitane painting sikahenge canvas painting oraterial kya kya hona

  • Prema: February 26, 2021

    I was learn kalamkari painting

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