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Phad is an Indian folk art form that originated in the Shahpura/Bhilwara region of Rajasthan more than 700 years ago. A type of scroll-painting made on cloth, the art of Phad is associated with storytelling traditions. In the olden days, Phad paintings narrated stories of local deities, warrior and rulers, such as Devnarayan and Pabuji. Over time, efforts were made to make the art form more relevant to a broader audience, and now, Phad paintings depict a variety of religious figures and stories, including scenes from Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Hanuman Chalisa.
Phad paintings were originally carried as mobile temples by travelling priest-singers or Bhopas, who performed stories for people in the villages using the Phad painting as a backdrop. Traditionally, the paintings were 15 to 30 feet long, but today, they are made in smaller sizes to be commercially viable.
The entire process of making a Phad painting is natural, with cotton cloth being used as a base, and natural paints made from stones, flowers, plants and herbs used to create the artwork. Watercolours or acrylics are sometimes used in newer Phad paintings. The paintings are vibrant in colour with prominent black outlines. While traditionally, Phad paintings depicted an elaborate story with different sections or episodes, the smaller paintings made today could depict just a single character or story.
Traditionally, Phad paintings were made exclusively by members of the Joshi family, who were commissioned by the Bhopas to create the painting. Progressive members of the Joshi family broke from tradition to promote the art form, and trained people from outside their family in the art of Phad.
|Medium:||Gouache on Textile|
|Size:||15 x 15 inches|
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