Tassar patta painting derives from the Pattachitra temple paintings of Odisha, Eastern India, originally painted on palm leaves. The Tree of Life depicts the life of mankind, which grows and develops from the roots of his culture, known locally as ‘Kalpabrukhya’, it is an adaptation of the Rudraksha tree.
The artist and social activist Kailash Chandra Meher has trained his family in the traditional techniques and has developed the art to a more contemporary form using intricate brushwork on silk. He has subsequently trained many artisans in the craft which has provided income and employment to poor families. He was recently awarded the Shilp Guru by the Indian government, the highest award given to master crafts persons for innovation and skill in traditional Indian handicrafts.
The Tree of Life depicts the life of mankind which grows and develops from the roots of his culture. The tree in the painting, locally known as ‘Kalpabrukhya’ is an adaptation of the Rudraksha tree. Patterns of the tree are described in the holy scripts of Hindu culture which furnish inspiration to the painter. The whole art is hand-painted on a natural Tassar silk background. Brick-red and black are the established colors used for the paintings. The difficult part is to perfect every stroke. The brush used for the art is always handmade to master the unique strokes. The unique skill of this art is in the curved stroke that starts with a dot, extends as a thin line, then grows thick, slims down again and ends in a dot – all in a single stroke. A single fluctuation or mistake will spoil the entire work.
It takes around 2-6 months to complete one painting depending upon the size.