Arts and Crafts of Orissa
Orissa treasures an opulent artistic
heritage that has specimens from the temple architecture as well as
the edifices. Skillful artists and craftsmen of Orissa still maintain
their native art by continuously processing it to adapt to a changing
taste. Be it the applique artists of Pipli or the stone carvers of
Orissa, imperious progeny of artist hands carve the magnificent
patterns and designs on Orissa's most renowned temples.
The hereditary skills of artists has bequeathed traditional Orissan
arts and crafts like weaving of Ikat, Bomkai and Sambalpuri Sari.
Stone carving, applique and embroidery are equally famous, silver
filigree work, palm leaf incised design, metal work, lacquered
craftsmanship all have acquired a unique place world wide. A visit to
the Raghurajpur artists' village and Pipli, near Puri, is definitely a
societies have taken an initiative in preserving this glorious craft
heritage of Orissa by becoming the easy mediator between the customers
and their creators.
¤ Palm Leaf Writing
The ancient art of palm leaf writing still survives in Oriyan houses
or in a temple. Religious texts, horoscopes traditionally written on
palm leaves are still in practice. Palm leafs are considered so
auspicious that printing of New Year cards and wedding invitations and
important text on palm leaf is still popular in Orissa.
The word patachitra is reclaimed from the Sanskrit word pata, usually
means a cloth piece, Chitra means painting or picture. Lot of
craftsmen skill and hard labor is required to execute fine patachitra.
Puri famous for its temple and beach preserves its traditional art
form. In the famous splendidly carved Jagannath temple, an annual
ceremonial has given rise to a new art form. Paintings made on
specially treated cloth or patas are made by the painter and hung
inside the sacred compound of the temple. Patas creation of a specific
school of painting has given rise to totally a new creation-
Patachitra. It is accomplished by the artist using varied colors,
sometimes in red, black, yellow, white and indigo blue. Raghurajpur
and Dandshahi villages are famous for their age-old art and paintings.
These patachitras are of great demand in India as well as in other
countries. Tourists to Puri carry back home these exquisite patas or
patachitras as mementos and gifts.
¤ Appliqué Art
Like patachitras, appliqué work in Orissa also originated as a
temple art. The artisans of Pipli - a village 40 km from Puri have
their mastery in applique art. Besides Puri, appliqué work is
also practiced in Chitki, Barpali, and a couple of other places.
Colored cloth, are stitched in shape of animals, birds, flowers and
beautiful wall, garden or beach umbrella, a lamp shade and much more
hangings are made.
Saris and other attires are designed with appliqué work, which
is gaining lot of popularity in international market. Tiny mirrors are
stick or stitched by thread embroidery to create a remarkable work of
art. Colors like red, yellow, white and black are mainly used, in
applique work whereas green has also been added in recent times.
Dating back to the Kalinga School, Puri has conserved a marvelous
heritage of carving. Craftsmen at Puri use soft soapstone and hard
kochila to carve temple sculptures. The craftsmen of Khandapara in
Puri are proficient at carving plates, bowls, flowerpots and other
decorative articles from a creamy white wood. Known as Sholapith work,
the carved articles, if left in natural off-white, look like ivory.
Besides this other decorative items and animal and bird toys
extensively carved out of wood, and painted wooden masks, are just
¤ The Papier-mâché Art
The papier-mâché art of Puri, Chikti Barpali,
Parlakhamedi (Ganjam district), and a few villages around Cuttack has
bizarre visages. This art of Orissa is also quite famous worldwide.
The special feature of papier-mâché toys - they have
movable limbs and nodding heads that requires specific skills.
¤ Metal Work
Places like Behrampur, Tarva, Chandanpur, Phulbani, and Kantilo are
the main hub of unique metal craftsmanship. Families in these towns
are specialized in producing a diverse variety of brass and metal
craft objects that showcases immense talent and workmanship. Elegant
craft of silver filigree work is also practiced in Cuttack. Silver is
extended and drawn into fine wires and foils forming into ornaments.
Cuttack is also well known for its horn work. Buffalo and cow horns
are used by experienced artisans to produce elegant, exotic jewelry
and other decorative items.