Indian Mythology

Untitled (Krishna and Gopis)

Mithila art traditionally uses motifs from nature like birds and elephants, or depicts themes of love both eternal and mortal, or scenes from Hindu mythology. This painting showcases an episode from the Bhagavata Purana where Krishna steals clothes of gopis (cow herding women) who were bathing in river yamuna. He is shown here seated atop… Read more »

Arjuna on Ratha

This shadow puppet of Arjuna on his chariot is from Tholu Bommalaata, a puppet tradition from Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, tholu means leather, bommalu means puppets and aata means dance. Arjuna is the main character in the Mahabharata alongside Krishna. He is one of the Pandava brothers, who win against the Kauravas. Considered a… Read more »

Raja Harishchandra

This shadow puppet of Raja Harishchandra is from Tholu Bommalaata, puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, ‘tholu’ means leather, ‘bommalu,’ puppets; and ‘aata’ dance. King Harishchandra is shown carrying a bow and a pack of arrows with a dagger on his waistband. Raja Harishchandra appears in ancient texts such as Markandeya Purana, Mahabharata… Read more »

Rama

This shadow puppet of Rama is from Tholu Bommalaata, puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, ‘tholu’ means leather, ‘bommalu,’ puppets; and ‘aata’ dance. Valmiki, in his epic Ramayana, describes Rama, as an ideal personality and compares him with numerous gods and sages with many virtues. Rama is committed to Dharma even when exiled… Read more »

Latpatiya Sugga

Mithila art traditionally uses motifs from nature like birds, elephants, or depicts themes of love both eternal and mortal, or scenes from Hindu mythology. Santosh Kumar Das makes use of these motifs to say something new with it. Coming from Ranti, he was trained in the Kachni style of Madhubani art, which focuses on the… Read more »

Untitled (Lion)

Mithila art often uses motifs from nature to capture the excitement of rural life. This painting depicts three elements – a sole lion, a flower and a bird but the flower is positioned high and the bird low, beside the hind legs of the lion. The artist Santosh Kumar Das is very interested in merging… Read more »

Untitled (Man with a Pankha)

This is a painting by Santosh Kumar Das in the Madhubani tradition. His art draws inspiration from Hindu mythology and iconography, nature, events from Indian history and anecdotes from his everyday life. ‘A Man With a Pankha’ explores a theme from Das’ life, and his love for art and mythology. A Brahmin man wearing an… Read more »

Brahma

This shadow puppet of Lord Brahma is from Tholu Bommalaata, puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, tholu means leather, bommalu means puppets and aata means dance. Brahma is one of the Holy Trinity in the Hindu Pantheon. Here he is depicted with three visible heads and four arms holding the scriptures in one hand. He also wears a yellow… Read more »

Matsya Vallabha

This shadow puppet of Matsya Vallabha is from Tholu Bommalaata, puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, tholu means leather, bommalu means puppets and aata means dance. Matsya Vallabha in Valmiki’s Ramayana is the son of Hanuman. When Hanuman was flying across the sea after burning Lanka with his tail, a drop of sweat fell into the water which was… Read more »

Lankadhipati Ravana

This shadow puppet of Ravana is from Tholu Bommalaata, puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, tholu means leather, bommalu means puppets and aata means dance. In Valmiki’s Ramayana, Ravana is portrayed as an opposition to Rama; the evil against the good. Ravana is a devout worshipper of Shiva. Apart from his physical characteristics, he is said to possess in-depth… Read more »

Ganapathi

This shadow puppet of Lord Ganesha is from Tholu Bommalaata, puppet tradition of Andhra Pradesh in India. Here, tholu means leather, bommalu means puppets and aata means dance. Every Tholu Bomalaata performance starts with offering a prayer to Lord Ganesha asking for his blessings. He is an important deity in the Hindu Pantheon and is regarded as the remover of obstacles… Read more »

Pattachitra: Durga

The Bengal Pattachitra is a visual and oral art tradition practised by the Patuas or Chitrakars of West Bengal. They earn their livelihood by telling stories from Hindu Mythology, local folklores, Sufi tradition and contemporary themes through paintings and songs. The unfolding or playing of the Pata is called ‘Pat Khelano’, and the song through… Read more »

Pattachitra: Untitled

The Bengal Pattachitra is a visual and oral art tradition practised by the Patuas or Chitrakars of West Bengal. They earn their livelihood by telling stories from Hindu Mythology, local folklores, Sufi tradition and contemporary themes through paintings and songs. The unfolding or playing of the Pata is called ‘Pat Khelano’, and the song through… Read more »

Pattachitra: Untitled

The Bengal Pattachitra is a visual and oral art tradition practised by the Patuas or Chitrakars of West Bengal. They earn their livelihood by telling stories from Hindu Mythology, local folklores, Sufi tradition and contemporary themes through paintings and songs. The unfolding or playing of the Pata is called ‘Pat Khelano’, and the song through… Read more »

Pattachitra: Yampat scroll

The Bengal Pattachitra is a visual and oral art tradition practised by the Patuas or Chitrakars of West Bengal. They earn their livelihood by telling stories from Hindu Mythology, local folklores, Sufi tradition and contemporary themes through paintings and songs. The unfolding or playing of the Pata is called ‘Pat Khelano’, and the song through… Read more »

Pattachitra: Krishna Leela

This pattachitra describes Krishna and Balarama leaving Vrindavan to go to Dwarka – where Krishna settled and ruled as king. Gopis can be seen lining ahead of the chariot and bidding him farewell. Since this a modern rendition of the legend the figures are actually shown waving to each other – a gesture borrowed from… Read more »

Pattachitra: Story of Jagannath

This is an Orissa Pattachitra detailing the Jagannath temple in Puri, along with other scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The pattachitra tradition is an indegenous artform of Orissa, where religious paintings are done on a canvas created with cotton cloth (called patta). The colours emploed are also natural – derived from various minerals… Read more »

Shiva and Dasha Mahavidyas

This artwork is a Mithila painting of Shiva, Sati and her ten forms called the ‘Dasa Mahavidyas’ created by Mithila artist Poonam Devi. Madhubani or Mithila painting is part of the cultural identity of Bihar and Mithila, a historical region that folded in parts of present-day Nepal. Originally ritualistic murals done on the interior walls… Read more »