Arts and crafts of Orissa - Illusions of Hand
Orissa is a state where all forms of arts are given huge importance. And the quality of work has earned it accolades not only in India but abroad as well. From traditional times, Orissa has been considered a state blessed with talent for arts. Right from palm leaf writing to Appliqué works, craftsmen of Orissa have perfected it all. Many of the art works that died out with time in many parts of the country are still practiced in parts of Orissa. This tells us how much people of Orissa respect their traditions and rituals. The most famous art works that has found huge demand in outside markets is the weaving craft. Bhubaneswar being the center for weaving makes it easy for the tourist to have a look at the exceptional works. Although other are forms of crafts find center in villages of Orissa.
Palm Leaf Writing
It is known that in ancient India, writings were done on Palm leaves. But since the printing has started, the tradition has almost died out. But there are few places in Orissa where you will still get to see people using palm leaves to jot down their work. Many temples still use palm leaf manuscripts for reference instead of religious books. The most wide use of palm leaf writing is done in horoscopes. Almost all the horoscopes are written on palm leaves. Printing of wedding cards is really popular among Orissa people as it is considered auspicious to get important things written on Palm leaves.
Ever since the Mauryans set textile workshops here, Orissa has been an important hub for weaving craft. There are now numerous weaving communities, which have more than 3 lakh weavers. There are regular exhibitions held in Bhubaneswar displaying the weaving on many fabrics like cotton and silk. There is precision and care given to even the minutest detail that some of the works will leave you stunned. The quality of the products has made Orissa the major exporter of weave fabrics.
Patachitra was once the paintings that were made by the temple painter to be hung inside the temple premises. This ritual has given rise to a new art form that has made it big in world of art. Patachitra are paintings drawn on specially treated cloths or on leaves. Now there is a different school for executing and imparting knowledge of Patachitra. Colors like white, yellow, blue and black are the most widely employed. You can buy these kind of art forms from art galleries. You can also visit the villages Raghurajpur and Dandshahi which are famous for Patachitra. Here you can get a first hand experience of how the whole thing is prepared.
Started as a temple art, it has become one of the most sought after artwork of Orissa. In this art, colored pieces of cloth after being shaped into different images of birds, animals, flowers and many other forms are stitched on other cloths that are used on wall hangings, lamps, umbrellas and other household items. In recent times, this work has also been used on apparels and tablecloths. It is employed mostly on Saris. These are then exported to all parts of the world. Pipli, a village near Bhubaneswar is the most known place for this art work.
You don't have to visit an exhibition or a gallery to get a glimpse into the world of arts and crafts of Orissa . Every aspect of people of Orissa has a touch of artistry to it. Such is the quality, variety and exquisiteness of the items that you will be tempted to go for each and everything. Best markets to shop for arts and crafts is in the capital city of Bhubaneswar.