Odisha is the ground of polished and slick artisans, who since decades have been carrying forward the artistic legacy of the traditional craftworks from Odisha, which still remain undiscovered by many travellers.
The Indian state of Odisha on the eastern coast is famous for its sand sculptures, the grand Rath Yatra (literally meaning a chariot travel) and Jagannath Dham, however, the state is much more than just these. Not many are aware of the vast variety of traditional handicrafts that the state houses through the tribal groups and traditional artists who display their creations across the weekly markets.
One such display was recently organised during the Odisha Parba 2017 (Odisha festival), the first festival celebrating Odisha at India Gate in New Delhi to draw attention towards its rich culture and heritage. The handicraft and handloom section displayed a variety of Odia artifacts, sculptor and famous textiles with live demonstration of various art forms like pattachitra paintings, stone crafts and sambalpuri sari weaving amongst others by master craftsmen and weavers. Here is a glimpse of some of the most intricate handicrafts from Odisha:
Pattachitra, as the name suggests, is a picture (chitra) painted on a cloth (patta) depicting stories of Hindu deities. The paintings are created on a paper made from tamarind seeds while the colours used are made from natural extracts of fruits and flowers. The shades are mixed with powdered shells and the paste is then used to make paintings.
This globally acclaimed art form has its roots in Odisha. Balaram Das, one of the most well known poets of Odisha from the 14th century mentioned the presence of the art and the internationally acclaimed Indian sand artist Padma Shree Sudarshan Pattnaik, also belongs to Odisha.
The pipli work in Odisha originated as a temple art where colourful cloths were stitched in different shapes to make umbrellas and wall/ceiling hangings with little mirrors stitched by coloured threads. However, with time, the artists also started designing saris and other garments with appliqué work, which today has gained a lot of popularity in international markets as well.
Brass and bell metal
Bell metal craft, traditionally known as Dhokra craft, is a tribal craft combining metallurgical skills with wax technique to create metal casting. Products like Dhokra horses, elephants, peacocks, owls, religious images, and lamps are in great demand in both domestic and foreign markets because of the folk motifs.
Palm leaf engraving
The palm art originated when written communication began. Messages and manuscripts were written on palm leaf and gradually the trend to decorate text with images began; thus becoming an art in itself.
Odisha largely produces artefacts made from the lightweight and eco-friendly coir fibre. These yellow coloured coconut strands are given the shape of various animals and birds, some of the popular being horses, crocodiles and dinosaurs.