Traditional Mata-ni-Pachedi

Shrine with the Pachedi used as a rear hanging

Mata or Mother Goddess as the central image

Traditionally this work of art always had an architectural rendering of a temple at its center which also housed the main mother goddess image.Around this were panels of incidents linked to the myth of the central deity as well as scenes from daily life. Conventionally the rectangular fabric was divided into seven to nine columns evoking the loss of a manuscript format. It also made it easier to interpret and impart the stories within the piece. In a lower caste, community, which also was barred from entering a built shrine or possessing their own literary collection this, was an ingenious solution. Incidences illustrated on the columns were stories by themselves each block a protomyth. While earlier imagery always depicted the goddess in the center, modern renditions enjoy a larger degree of artistic freedom. The central image and surrounding images may vary in size and position, depending on the artist’s personal creative imagination. A chandarvo being a ceiling the painted pattern is a representative of the magic circle, the garbha, the ceremonial dance to the goddess, in effect a stylized mirror image. The mother goddess occupies a central position with myths and incidents in circular patterns around the central figure.

Both the Pachedi and the Chandarvo are always framed with a bold border, which is divided into a line of single color and a band of decorative linear patterns.Traditionally maroon and black were the colors used, with the surface of the material as the third color. Black not only was used as a color but also as the outer linings of the icons and the motifs. Filling in the motifs were sometimes replaced by linear work and pointillist imagery. Contrasts between positive and negative spaces formed an important balancer to the work. The maroon and black colors were natural dyes sourced from alizarin and oxidized metal. Maroon was associated with the color of the Earth mother or Gaea and believed to possess healing powers. The color black was meant to repel malevolent spirits and intensify spiritual energy. White was considered the color for purity and contact with ancestral spirits, deities and other unknown spiritual entities. Gradually other colors from nature started adding to the color palette without having any religious significance. As time went by the community got introduced to pigment dyes which had begun arriving in Gujarat for a fledging textile industry. Exposure to a wider palette meant a riot of color and shade in the pachedi. Other iconary imagery such as posters, prints, calendars etc also affected this work of art.

Unfortunately, unlike other temple hangings or block printed textiles of the country, Mata-ni-Pachedi never obtained much of a significant position in the history of Indian textiles. With time it is loosing its sacred significance in the religious context of Gujarat, due to other mediums like posters and idols of gods and goddesses. Besides the transition of preference of mediums, nature also is playing a major role in the loosing significance of the craft. The now settled artisans who have been dyeing the hangings in natural colors are facing the scarcity of flowing water in an urban landscape which plays a major role in the process of dyeing. With the descending interest of society in the depiction of narrative epics through temple hangings, the craft is resuming significance as a piece of textile craft. However, due to the crude execution of the rural artisans the craft is unable to attain its status amongst the finely executed textiles of India.
Detail of a Pachedi border
Space surrounding the central image
divided into 7-9 panels


in search of IQ said...

Hi Bishakha, chanced upon your blog while searching for information on Mata-ni-pachedi. I am very fascinated by the subject and found your blog very interesting. I have emailed you in this regard.

kundan said...

Hi Bishakha,i m a student of NIFT,New Delhi...n i was searching for information abt Mata-ni-pachedi.your blog is really very interesting.if you'll put some more stuff abt textile of Gujrat ...It'll be more interesting.

Anonymous said...

Does one intellect easily repost this particular over to this website?
One of the better to be sure credit score is given in which it can be
because of. Have a good 1!
Also visit my blog post - Cures For Genital Warts

Anonymous said...

I’m no longer positive wherever you’re obtaining your information.

.. I would like to spend time understanding a lot more or even understanding additional.
Here is my page : Genital Warts Natural