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This painting is a masterpiece.
Srinathji (Krishna) is attended to by Gopis as seen in the section at the bottom and the same is projected within the temple of Srinathji. The artist has very successfully drawn out the concept that anything offered to Krishna within the confines of your surroundings is equivalent to offering the same to him in person.
The main panel is surrounded by 24 forms of Srinathji bedecked in different jewellery and dresses. The temple of Srinathji is in constant celebrations and one month is divided into two seasons, fifteen days each of waning and waxing moon. Therefore a total of twenty four seasons are derived from twelve months in a year.
In each season Srinathji is dressed differently and worshipped accordingly. The fully dressed up and adorned form of Srinathji is also called Jhanki.
Gopis were the cowherd women of Vrindavan who were in love with Krishna. They were so immersed in Krishna in thought, word and deed that they attained oneness with him. Lord Krishna, none other than the supreme Brahman of the Vedas, himself declares in Bhagvad Purana that in-spite of being supreme he is unable to repay the love Gopis offered him and all he could do was surrender before such unparalleled love.
The Gopis of Vraja are held in absolute regard for their love for Krishna who is also called Gopi Vallabha therefore. ‘Vallabha’ means ‘beloved’.
These Gopis were none other than great Rishis (saints) who had achieved oneness with Brahman after performing austerities for countless aeons. They were reborn as Gopis of Vraja with a natural emotion of deep conjugal love for Krishna. Natural love for Sri Krishna was the supreme state which was the fruit of their austerities of previous births.
The Pichwai paintings are rendered on a cotton cloth and framed in an ornate hand-painted border. All colours are natural colors obtained by grinding natural stone of different hues. Real and pure gold paint or gold foils are used in traditional Pichwais as and when needed in subjects. For example in jewellery, dresses, borders, outlines etc. All gold work in Pichwai paintings shines when the painting is exposed to light at an angle.
The word Srinath is a combination of two words ‘Sri’ and ‘Nath’. Sri means Lakshmi (consort of Lord Vishnu or Krishna) and Nath means Master. So ‘Srinath’ is a name of Krishna which means Master or Husband of Lakshmi. The suffix ‘Ji’ is commonly used at the end of names in North India, Rajasthan in particular, to ascribe respect to the person being referred to.
Pichwai paintings only have Srinathji for their theme and the scenes painted are mostly from Srinathji’s loving sports in Vrindavan with Gopis and cowherds.
Pichwai art emerged when the cloth-sheet serving as a background behind the statue of Srinathji was beautified with Rajasthani style paintings created by devotee-artists. In-fact the word Pichwai is a derivative of the Hindi word ‘Peeche’ which means Behind.
The painters, in their dedication to Srinathji went on creating new background cloth-sheets painted with various themes for different occasions. The discarded sheets were preserved and thus started a whole genre of Rajasthani art called Pichwai and alongside emerged a team of devoted artists who would dedicate their art in service of Srinathji and keep painting for generations that continues till date. Many of these artists are still ardent devotees themselves and lead a very simple life.
Srinathji’s temple is located in Nathdwara, a small town in Rajasthan. The elaborate set of customs and procedures of offering loving service to Srinathji were founded by Vallabhcharya, an ardent devotee of Srinathji, great Sanskrit scholar and a philosopher. He founded the ‘Pushti Marg’ of devotional service to Lord Krishna wherein the Supreme Being is conceived of not as all-powerful, hard to access Brahman of the Vedas but a small, loving child in want of his devotee’s loving service. Srinathji is therefore pampered with choicest of delicacies, rich garments by doting devotees throughout the day with elaborate rituals and procedures.
All our Pichwai paintings for sale are rendered on cotton cloth and hand-painted by traditional Pichwai artists.