The origin of the pichwai, a traditional Indian form of folk art, lies in 16th century Hindu temples of the Pushtimarg tradition. These paintings made on fabric-based canvases were made to hang behind (‘pich’) the Shrinath idol in the garbhagrha. They are visual Krishnaleela narratives, aimed at the illiterate devotee.
The pichwai painting that you see on this page is a reproduction of the Shrinath iconography of the Nathdwara temple in Rajasthan. Divine shringar predominated by gold and pearls, pale crimson blooms of the sacred lotus, and colourful pleated silks. A crown of gold with a vibrant peacock plume at the zenith.
The handsome deity is flanked by two devoted Brahmins, one of whom bears a chamara made up of plumes of the peacock. Pichwai paintings of cows within the painting. Shiva-Parvati and Brahma-Sarasvati hovering in the heavens above in chariots of gold, drawn by their respective vahanas.
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