CHAKSUDAN PAT ART

Chaksudan Pat is a ritualistic art practice of the Santhals inhabiting the regions of Bengal and Jharkhand. The paintings are commissioned after someone dies. The patua will at the onset characteristically depicts the deceased without eyeballs to denote that the body is devoid of a spirit, and without sight would be unable to navigate in the afterlife. It is when the family pays the artist that he renders the eyeballs on the painted figure, ritualistically lending the person sight. Traditionally, on hearing of a death in the Santhal community, the artist approached the mourning family to present them with already drawn figures- man and woman, young and old, of varying age. Often the family will offer daily items as an offering to the painter, to draw the eyes on a selected figure. These exchanged objects are often shown in the painting. Given the cultural significance of this ritual, the painter is viewed as a quasi magician in the community- ushering the passage of the dead from the mortal world to the afterlife.
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