Pithora paintings from central Gujarat

Pithora paintings are highly enriched folk art culture of Gujarat done on the walls by several tribes such as the Rathwas and Bhilalas who live in the central Gujarat, 90 km (56 mi) from Vadodara, in a village called Tejgadh.

Pithora paintings are more of a ritual than an art form. These rituals are performed either to thank God or for a wish or a boon to be granted. The Badwa or the head priest of the tribe is summoned and the problems are narrated. These problems can vary from dying cattle, to unwell children in the family. The concerned person is given a solution and is asked, by the Badwa, to perform the ritual and the painting. The presence of Pithora Baba is considered as a solution to all the problems. A Pithora is always located at the threshold, or the Osari, outside the first front wall or inside on the walls of the first room as one enters a house. The painting usually floods the entire wall with figures. Three walls are prepared for the painting, the front wall and the two on either side of it. The front or central wall is very large, twice the size of each of the sidewalls. These walls are treated with two layers of cow dung paste and one layer of white chalk powder. Unmarried girls bring in these materials. This procedure is called Lipna. The main wall of the verandah that divides it from the kitchen is considered sacred to the Pithoro. The wall paintings related to the legends of creation and Pithoro, are done on this wall. The two sidewalls of the veranda are also painted with figures of minor deities, ghosts and ancestors.

Even in the cave paintings of thousands of years older to us in history, roots of Pthora paints are available. Rathwa community of Central Gujarat’s art tradition also seems pre historical in nature. The very crudity of the nature of Pithora paintings forms the basis of its beauty and appeal. The fact that only men are allowed to paint these Pithora murals is a historical anachronism.

 Reference: Wikipedia and Discovered India 

8 replies on “Pithora paintings from central Gujarat”

This art form is not from Gujarat, it is from Madhya Pradesh because the tribes mentioned are the natives of madhya pradesh. Please edit your information.

Actually no rathwas reside in northeastern part of chotaudaipur Gujarat (also in reagions of dahod and panch mahal) which juts out into Mp and they keep getting mis identified as Kholi and bheel people but they are rathwas , they speak rathwi and at times learn Hindi or Gujarati for communication purposes even rathwa to a certain extent is a misidentification since the institution gave them that name for the ease of identification and differentiation . It was only in 1971 that they were identified as an individual tribe . Hence the author is not wrong in saying that the tribe is from Gujarat

hey, I would like to have the contact details of the artisans who practise pithora paintings. It would be really helpful if you could give some leads.

I work with Bhilala tribes in a village near Bhopal. And working with them on teaching them how to make Pithora art on sheets. Let me know what exactly you are looking for. I can help I guess

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