Thursday, May 28th, 2009 | Author:

jadupatua_1388Not many people have heard of Jadupatua paintings. Popular in North-Eastern states of Bihar and West Bengal, Jadupatua illustrations are basically vertical scroll paintings. Places like Birbhum, Hooghly, Murshidabad, Santhal Parganas, Bankura, Burdwan, and Midnapore districts etc are knonw for producing wonderful Jadupatua paintings. These paintings can be found on both clothes and paper. Themes are often inspired from mythological characters. The most prominent theme is Lord Yama.


The artists of these paintings are known as Duari Patuas or Jadupatuas. They mostly belong to community of barbers, potters, sweetmeat makers and blacksmiths. They have followed this tradition since centuries. The modus operandi is quite simple. These artists visit from village to village and perform in return of some cash or kind.   The prime theme covered by these artists show treatments meted out to dead souls by Lord Yama. These artists also visit homes where someone has recently died. Artists make the pictures of the deceased and take them to dead person’s home.


The Santhal region is dominated by tribals. The Jadupatuas artists use to peform another function for people who have recently lost a relative. They make a painting of the deceased and immerse it in river Damodar on behalf of the deceased’s relatives. For this, they get a certain fee or some other rewards. But Jadupatuas artists don’t just cover the funeral theme or functions. They also draw subjects like animals like leopard or tiger, religious themes like adventures of Krishna, creation of Santhals, and their main festival Bahu etc. The objects used in paintings are made of natural elements like goat hair. The mode of expression is totally uninhibited and most of the paintings are in raw form.

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