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Kalighat Pats

Kalighat Pats, Kolkata
The name "Kalighat Pata" (pata is pronounced as pot) is applied to a class of paintings and drawings on paper produced by a group of artists called patuas in the neighbourhood of the famous Kali Temple at Kalighat, now a part of Calcutta, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was popular among the common folks but not regarded as good by the elites. There was a class of artists seeking their fortunes in Calcutta- the Patuas, patidars or chitrakars from rural Bengal, Midnapur.

Themes of Kalighat Pats
Many enchanting designed pats are displayed in the European museums. Some Kalighat Pats depict housewives protecting themselves with broom sticks, some are seen playing behala, bina and tabla, some are seen dressing themselves up. Religious and mythological themes predominated. There were some pictures of birds and beasts. Other historical figures like Lakshmibai, Rani of Jhansi, Shyamakanta fighting with a tiger, a Bengali woman flying up in the sky in a baloon, the Elokeshi- Mohanta affair or the great Tarakeshwar scandal. The babus and the bibis, the ladies of the town, the dancing girls, the loving couples are also in Kalighat Pats.

Pat Making
It is generally a team work. The head of the Patuas started it with a detail and completion was done by his helpers. Two colours, vegetable and water colours are used, one made of paper and other is of clay. Clay pats are used for making of Gods and Goddesses or men and women. Then the clay pats was burnt and painted in white with Ghusam soil. Ghusam soil mixed with the gum of marmelous were applied on the pat and then boiled. According to the length of the storied the pats were shaped. Presently the pats are made on art paper vegetable colours like yellow, red, green, purple, white, brown, saffron and black are used.

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