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Different designs in kalamkari

The Cloth of Goddess Mother, or Mata ni Pachedi, as the term is popularly called, is a
very popular narrative scroll from Gujarat. These were made by the Vaghris, the
wandering caste. The Vaghris were once a wandering caste, some of whom have now
settled in Ahemdabad, the great industrialized city of Gujarat.
They make their living outside their houses, in a little lane by the Central Post Office,
block printing and painting shrine cloths, which are known as mata-ni-pachedi or matano-chandarvo.

Traditionally, the shrine cloths are made for ritual use by members of castes such as
sweepers, leather workers, farm laborers, or by the Vaghris themselves. The shrine
cloths always have as a central feature an image of the mata- the mother goddess in
her fearsome aspect- sitting on her throne, or mounted on an animal, brandishing in her
hands the weapons needed to kill demons. In the background, is an architectural
rendering of a temple. In the centre is placed the image of the Mother Goddess and her
associates. Around the goddess are depicted the scenes from the mythology of that
deity, as also her followers and worshippers. It is usually rectangular in shape and is
divided into seven to nine partitions, very much like a Jain miniature painting.
When any of the matas devotees suffers illness or misfortune, he goes to
the matas shrine and vows that he will make a sacrifice to her if she will relieve him of
his trouble. If his wish is granted, he pays for the shrine to be cleaned and decorated,
and an enclosure made up of pached(rectangular shrine cloths) is erected around the
shrine, with the chandarvo, the great square shrine canopy, draped above it.
A ceremony of chants and a trance-inducing dance is conducted by a priest-shaman,
known as a bhuvo. This is followed by the ritual sacrifice: the cooking and eating of a

young goat. There is always a depiction of a bhuvo-priest, leading a sacrificial animal to

the mata, on a pachedi, or chandarvo.

The art work is framed with a bold border, and is divided into a line of single color and a
band of decorative linear patterns. The colors of the pachedi are black, blood red and

This style flowered around temples and their patronage and so had an almost religious identity
- scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners and the like, depicted deities and scenes taken from
the great Hindu epics - Ramayana. Mahabarata, Puranas and the mythological classics.

Under the Muslim influence and trade ties across Asia and Europe, Masulipatnam emerged as a
major centre of Kalamkari, catering to the Islamic aesthetics. The renditions of flora and fauna
are common in this School of Kalamkari, especially The Tree of Life motif.

depicting stories from mythology

Srikalahasti, on the other hand, under the influence of Hindu rulers, flourished under Hindu
temple patronage, and exclusively drew inspiration from Hindu mythological figures. It follows
free hand drawing techniques and the panels are used as decorative elements in temples and
on chariots. The panels depict narratives from the epics and puranas.

Characteristics of this painting style

- Simplicity, yet richness in colors, no shading
- Round Faces, Long and Big Eyes, Stout Characters
- Use of curvy motifs for decoration
- Dominance of colors like Green, Red, Black, Yellow and Blue


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kalamkari toran