Pichwai’s are intricate and large formal cloth paintings made in honour of Lord Srinathji of Nathdwara, one of the avatars of Krishna. Located in the state of Rajasthan, Nathdwara is a significant Vaishnava centre where the Pushti Marg or Vallabh Sampradaya cult has strong roots. The shrine or haveli of Shrinathji is the focal point of devotion and Picchwai wall paintings are made to cater to the worship and ritual needs of this sect. The purpose of the painting is twofold- aesthetic as well as didactic. It not only beautifies the shrine, which is decorated with keen interest as a gesture of devotion, but the paintings visually represent umpteen episodes from Krishna’s life, becoming a point of contemplation for visiting devotees. These paintings are made by a group of artists who work together to produce these masterpieces. Primarily produced for the temple and private shrines as a backdrop wall hanging for the resident Shrinath ji idol, these paintings in the recent years have also been collected by patrons for their artistic merit.
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