Indulding in a sophisticated dance gesture is the figure of Ganesha at the top. Paying obesiance to him is his mount, the mouse. Especially noteworthy with the figure of Ganesha is the unique way his ear is represented, like a winnow.
The bottom half is dominated by Durga, the goddess warrior. Paying obesiance to her is her mount the lion. An interesting point to be noted here is that Durga is an incarnation of Parvati, the mother of Ganesha according to Hindu mythology.
This is a paata painting. Pata is a Sanskrit derivation which literally means canvas so pata-painting means a scroll painting on canvas. The art of Pata Painting (or pata chitra) is practiced by the artists of Orissa, a state on the Eastern Coast of India.
The materials used by these artists are totally of an indigenous character. To unite the colors they utilise wooden bowls made of dried coconut shells. The coarse brush is prepared from the root of a local plant called keya. Hairs of brushes are collected from a buffalo's neck, more fine brushes require the hair of mouse. These brushed are fixed to wooden handles. They are usually kept in the quivers made out of a hollow joint of a thick bamboo tree. The brushes may also be sometimes stored in leather cases or in dried pumpkin bowls.
Black color is prepared by holding an earthen plate over the smoke of a burning wick. The soot thus collected at the bottom of the plate is thickened to a black substance. This is mixed with the gum of Kaitha fruit when used as black color in painting.
Green color typically is prepared from the juice of green leaves which is boiled and gum is mixed in the same proportion.
This painting has been executed on tussar silk.
It is truly said of these Pata paintings that " Strange is this world of Pata paintings, a world in itself, where every article and ornament keeps its unchanging shape, its place and importance, where every animal has its own stylized features, every personality its unerring marks of identification defined by the ancient texts, religious myths and local tradition. It is a world of myths and gods, but still more it is a world of folk imagination, the reflection of thinking and of the mental scope of millions of Indian peasants, fishermen and craftsmen, their joys, their hardships, binding faith and exacting beauty. So the paintings speak the language of their creators, they give realistic expression, a clear symbol, humorous details. They are familiar to the eye, close to the heart, bringing joy and expressing life".
Indeed the immensity of life and the diversity of the divine come together and stand in one in these Pata paintings.