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Patua - West Bengal

Patua Art

The Patua performance from Bengal strikes a fine balance between word and image. Patua paintings are scrolls that unfold a sacred tale or a famous event sung in verse. The first Patua painter is believed to be a Fakir that travelled from village to village.

On one of his travels he noticed that there was only one woman living in the village. The Fakir was told about demon that had killed everyone and had created fear in the surrounding villages. An announcement was made that anyone who killed the demon would be rewarded handsomely. So the Fakir decided to take up the challenge.

The Fakir polished a large stone until it shone like a mirror, and then left it in the demon`s cave. When the demon returned to the cave he saw his own image in the stone. He had never seen this before and so thought it was another demon. He struck the stone repeatedly until he had badly injured himself and eventually died.

The victorious Fakir returned to the village with the message that he had killed the demon. The villagers wanted proof of his conquest, but were afraid to go near the body of the demon. So the Fakir drew out the story of slaying the demon onto a scroll. Following this, demand for the illustrations increased and so the Fakir Thus was born a Patua painter, and thereby followed the tradition of scroll painters which has continued for generations.

Patua Art

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