Palm Leaf Paintings 

Palm Leaf Paintings of Orissa is one of the most ancient art forms in India which has found admirers far and wide. The art originated when written communication began. Messages and manuscripts were written on the palm leaf to be disseminated. Gradually the trend to decorate the text with images began and it became an art in itself. The ethnic art were still one of the most respected ones there and is practiced by the artists primarily in Puri and Cuttak.

These paintings are made from rows of palm leaves which are cut in sizes and sewn together. To prepare the palm leaf, the unripe leaves of the palm tree are first cut and semidried. They are then buried in swamps for 4-5 days for seasoning and the dried in shade. Paintings are then etched on to the leaves using either a pen or a sharp object. Ink, or alternatively blend of charcoal obtained from burnt coconut shells, turmeric and oil is then poured along the lines which makes the lines stand out and well defined. Colors are hardly used in this art, whatever are used as fillers and in very subdued tones. Vegetable and mineral colors are used for painting. Upon drying the panels of the leaves can be folded and unfolded to reveal the beautiful paintings inside. These are then stitched or stringed together as per the need. At times they are stitched after the etching is complete.

These paintings capture the themes of ancient Indian mythology with scenes and legends from the Hindu epics dominating most of these paintings.  Stories and incidents of Mahabharat, Ramayana and other epics are also etched. The paintings and drawings also present excellent scenes of nature. These art forms make it a must have in your own homes, besides making it one of the most auspicious gifts you could ever give.