The Red, Blue and Black Deccani Pichwais

Teena Soni

4/4/20221 min read

The word Deccan comes from Sanskrit word “Dakshina” which means south regions. Here it is the southern part of Indian subcontinent. The word Pichhwai comes from Sanskrit word “Pichh” means back and “wais” means hanging, basically originated from shreenathji temple in Nathdwara, Rajasthan built in 1672. Deccan Pichhwais are mainly known for their extravagant use of gold which makes them opulent. Deccan Pichhwais are made by stencilling images on to the cloth and then applying gold foil with an adhesive. Adhesive used in Deccan Pichhwais in 19th century to apply gold leaf is made by boiling gond katira (tragacanth gum), jaggery, honey, resins , chandras , wooden wax(raad) together to form a liquid substance to be applied on cloth surface which gave gleaming effect to gold. In these type of Pichhwai, rarely does Krishna appear in figural form, generally he is represented by kadama tree. The customary arrangement for these Deccani Pichhwais depicts a group of adoring gopis approaching the kadama tree with gifts for their beloved Krishna against the shower of flowers. A thunderous sky with rolling black clouds portends the monsoon. Below are the banks of Yamuna river, a band of cows accompanied by two gopas and peafowl to enhance the beauty of season. Interestingly in Deccan Pichhwais, the flowers fall head downward rather than stem downward as they do in Nathdwara style. There is no definite proof yet of how both styles got amalgamated . Certainly these techniques was available in both regions. These paintings not only lavishes sewa bhav upon shreenathji but also reveals the affluence of devotee patron.

Jai Shree Krishn!