6 Things You Didn’t Know About Pichwai Painting

You may have come across paintings depicting Lord Krishna surrounded by bright motifs like cows, peacocks and lotuses. This art form is known as Pichwai and it originated in Rajasthan 400 years ago. Each piece takes painstaking efforts to be created and that’s probably why this art form began to fade away. However, there has been a renewed interest in Pichwai recently, with interior decorators gravitating towards it’s vivacity. 

Here are 6 things you may not know about this beautiful Indian art form:

 

Origins

Many of you already know that Pichwai gets its name from Pich (back) and wai (wall hanging) as these elaborate canvases were hung behind Krishna’s deity at the Nathdwara temple. However, very few are aware of the story behind the temple itself. 

 

In 1672, a deity representing Srinathji as a 7-year-old infant was being transported from Mathura via Agra. The bullock cart’s axle got stuck in the mud and devotees saw this as a divine sign to build a temple here. Thus, the Nathdwara temple was born at this particular location. 

 

Anyone else notice a similarity between this story and the one from Mahabharata where the wheel of Karna’s chariot gets stuck in the ground, thereby giving Arjuna ample time to kill him, on being convinced by Krishna? ;)

 

There are Pichwais for every season

Ever wondered why Pichwais have peacocks and lotuses? Each motif and symbol has a purpose and these are often rooted in the season depicted in these paintings. Summer Pichwais are loaded with beautiful pink lotuses scattered across the canvas to give Srinathji some respite from the heat. Morkuti Pichwais are a celebration of monsoon with the depiction of peacocks waiting to welcome the rain. 

 

Celebrating Srinathji’s promotion!

 

Cows are an integral part of Lord Krishna’s life and Pichwai paintings, alike since he was a gwala (cowherder). The festival of Gopashtami celebrates his promotion from a herder of younger calves to fully grown cows. Another set of Pichwais depict Sandhya aarti where Yashoda and the gopis wait for Balram and Krishna to come back home after herding cows all day. 

 

Organic Colours

 

All traditional Pichwais were made using organic colours which often take three to four days to be made. Pichwais stand out in a crowd due to its bright colours which are obtained from natural sources like Coal, Zinc, Saffron, Gold and Silver. Even the paint brushes were made organically using goat, squirrel and horse hair for bristles. 

 

Pichwais are ornate

 

Since these canvases were used to decorate the wall behind Srinathji’s deity at Nathdwara temple, Pichwais are quite elaborate in nature. Some of these paintings are even embellished with gold and silver threads. They make for great wall art to be put up in pooja rooms or even living rooms. These opulent versions shine with intricate handwork and not just gold and silver threads!

 

Not all Pichwais are religious in nature

 

While Pichwai may have originated in a temple, all paintings are not religious in nature. Perhaps, this is why it has found a humble abode in the walls of many living rooms and offices. Many Pichwais simply depict serene scenes of flora and fauna. They are excellent options for large wall fine art for living room decorations.

 

With continuous exposure to natural light for a long time, these paintings may lose their natural lustre. However, at Bimba, we bring you high quality framed Giclee prints which retain their shine, thanks to exceptional ink quality and museum-grade paper. Further, each print comes framed in an acrylic plexiglass which produces minimal glare, so even the sun doesn’t shine brighter than your artwork!

 

Trust Bimba as your online shop for wall art that lasts for a lifetime and adds life to your home’s walls. 

 

Click here to explore our Pichwai collection.

November 25, 2020 — Rahul Soni