Sunday, July 15, 2012

Kalighat paintings from Bengal, India

Okay, so there is this crazy temple, Kalighat, in the middle of Calcutta (now named Kolkata). Calcutta was named after Kali, a wild goddess with deep symbolic meanings. The temple, Kalighat, is dedicated to Kali. She's the goddess of empowerment and change. She carries the sword of Vengeance. See those horrible skulls around her neck in a long necklace? Well, those are the cut off heads of demons and ignorance. Her skin is the color of deep space, the origins of night itself. Her tongue hangs out because she is vomiting up material attachment to the ordinary world.

In her fury and concentration on killing all that is bad in the world she became out of control and Shiva threw himself at his wife's feet to stop her rampage. It was only after dancing on her husband's body that she finally calmed down and the world was saved.

There used to be murderers, who dedicated their lives to Kali, killed in her honor. They were named thuggees, which means "deceivers". That's the origin of the English word, thug.

The temple built in her honor is one of the oldest in India.

Outside the temple for the last century or so artists have sold cartoons, images of political and social satire and daily life in India, images of gods and goddesses. This has become an art form, a type of folk art now known as Kalighat Painting.

Kalighat painting originated in 19th century Bengal,

in the vicinity of Kalighat Kali Temple,KalighatKolkataIndia

and from being items of souvenir taken by the visitors to the Kali temple, the paintings over a period of time developed as a distinct school of Indian painting. From the depiction of Hindu gods, goddesses, and other mythological characters, the Kalighat paintings developed to reflect a variety of themes.

Kalighat painting evolved as a unique painting style in the rapidly urbanizing cityscape of 19th-century Kolkata. Reflecting a new language, these paintings recorded the changes in lifestyles, values, and a new visual vocabulary brought forth by lithographic presses and studio photography.

The artists who developed the Kalighat painting style were traditional scroll painters (patuas). In catering to the transient, urban populace, the artists let go on of their linear narrative styles and adopted single pictures with one or two figures. The traditionally inherited techniques and iconography were blended with the use of watercolours and Western academic shading, to show frames of a changing society.

The Jagannath trio, consisting of Jagnnatha painted black as an alternative form of Krishna, Lord of the Universe, in the company of his brother Balabhadra and their little sister Subhadra in the middle, are shown against a yellow background. All three are wearing red and blue striped garlands with detailed silver jewellery designs.
Kalighat paintings, a lively form of Bengali folk art, from about 1985

Sexual Politics

The Gods





The old style of Kalighat

The Mahant arrives in jail; Tarakeshwar affair

Episode of the Tarakeshwar affair. Image of the Mahant arriving in jail after his conviction. Dressed only in a pleated dhoti and a shawl, he is roped to a jailer while standing before a fair-skinned jail superintendent. The Official sits in a black chair holding the Mahant's 'warrant of commitment' or conviction charges.His hairstyle, black coat with cut-away sides, white trousers and black shoes suggest the superintendent has a British or Anglo-Indian origin. Place of Origin Calcutta, India (made) Date ca. 1880 (made)
New Kalighat by Kalam Patua. about Kalam Patua.

Tiger Woman

1 comment:

  1. This last one is most recent work and not work of srish chitrakar of kalighat.probably the date is 1770. this may be fake. kalam patua