Friday, February 25, 2011


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The craft of making temple hangings known as Mata-ni-Pachedi in Gujarat is over 200 years old. ‘Mata’ means, ‘Goddess’, ‘ni’, ‘belongs to’ and ‘Pachedi’ means ‘behind’. The nomadic Waghari community would use four or five of these temple hangings painted by chitaras to form a shrine for the goddess (Devi or Shakti), where the bhuvo (priest) would perform the rituals and jagorais (singers) would interpret the pachedis. Traditionally, maroon and black were the colors used and were sourced from alizarin and oxidized metal. Maroon was associated with the color of Mother Earth or Gaea and believed to possess healing powers. Black was meant to repel malevolent spirits and intensify spiritual energy. White was the color for purity and contact with ancestral spirits and deities. Gradually, other colors were added to the palette without having any religious significance. As the nomads settled down, the depiction of narrative epics through temple hangings took a backseat and the craft is unable to attain its status amongst the finely executed textiles of India. 

Such paintings are on display at the Lalbhai Dalpatbhai Museum and Calico Museum in Ahmedabad and Baroda Museum and Art Gallery in Vadodara. 

(Text source: India Guide - Gujarat)

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