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A beautiful painting of Srinathji (Krishna) surrounded by cows. Srinathji is bedecked in traditional attire which is highly ornate and laden with rich jewellery. The cows around him are painted with real gold leaf work. The gold in Pichwais shines when the painting is exposed to the light at an angle.
Cows are closely associated with Krishna who is their ultimate protector and nurturer. The celestial cow Surabhi herself performed Abhishekam of Sri Krishna when he lifted Govardhana hill and protected the residents of Vraja and all the cows therein from Indra’s wrath. Krishna is also called Govinda (protector of cows) since, an epithet bestowed on him by the humbled Indra.
The Pichwai painting is 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.
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.