The Bengal Pat

Bengal Pat is an indigenous Indian art form that originated in Bengal, hundreds of years ago when minstrels would sing about various incidents and tragedies that were a part of the society. There were also some singers and folk dancers who started to paint to depict their stories on scrolls of cloth for beautification purposes and for preservation through the years.

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These paintings are made using dyes that are prepared from spices, minerals, mud, soot etc. They are theme based and usually depict the times and lives of the golden era. Most commonly used colours on these paintings are red, indigo, green, yellow, black and ochre.

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During old times, The Bengal Pat paintings depicted the essence of daily life and regressive social set ups that required a change, in a very satirical manner. Such paintings were popular among the common man, but not regarded good by the elites. Housewives protecting themselves with broomsticks, some dressing themselves up, a Bengali woman flying up in the sky in a balloon, were some of the things which these paintings depicted. Historical figures like Rani of Jhansi, Lakshmibai, Shyamakanta fighting with a tiger were also used. We can say that these paintings were the mirror of their times.

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The art which was once so popular seems to have lost its eminence and is confined more to the museums. Although, it can be seen that it is being revived again in the district of Midnapur, where works of Bengal Pat artists are in great demand and their works are even exported abroad.



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