Pichwai’s were made earlier using natural paints.created from coal,gold,silver,indigo,zinc,saffron and other minerals.But later on artists began to use a mix of natural and acrylic colors.A good Pichwai shows an expression of divinity on the deity’sface.The fine brush work,the beautiful and bright colours used all evoke a feeling of awe when we look at the work.
The beautiful artform originated about four hundred years ago.The world Pichwai derives from the Sanskrit words Pich meaning back and Wai meaning hanging.These are cloth paintings hung behind the image of the Hindu God Shrinathji.These are intricate paintings which portray Lord Krishna.Krishna is shown in different moods,body postures and attire.The purpose of Pichwai’s,other than the artistic appeal,is to narrate tales of Krishna to the people..
Nathdwara is a small town about forty kilometers north of Udaipur,a city of Rajasthan.Shrinathji,the principle deity of Nathdwara is a living deity for the devotees and is always shown with his left arm raised above his head lifting Mount Govardhan and the other hand rests on his waist.
Each Pichwai painting is considered a seva or an offering to the deity hence his picture is done as a Prince with jewels and luxuries.aA typical pichwai has twenty four boxes around called Swaroops.Each box hasKrishna,Gopies,flowers,cows and other elements.
The artists mostly live in Chitron Ki Gali(Street of Painting)and Chitrakaroan Ka Mohallah(Colony of Painters)so it is not surprising that many a times a Pichwai painting is a group effort,where many skillful painters work under the supervision of a master artist.
Nowadays Pichwai’s are collected by private individuals but earlier they were the sole property of royalty and their families.