Keeping the amusement alive, we are continuing our “Did You Know” series and enlightening every individual about the authenticity of Pichwai paintings. Label Pratham has collections of amusing handcrafted wearables that speak highly about Pichwai art, and every piece has its own story. Take a look at some of the hidden stories behind our artistic clothing.

The Pichwai paintings used to be made with natural colors extracted from flowers, leaves, coal, iron, indigo, saffron, zinc, and other natural sources. Since the makers of natural colors did not pass down the proper know-how, they got lost in time. Also, due to budget and time constraints, they were replaced with commercially available ones. Nevertheless, pure gold and other precious metals continue to be used to date.

The old name of Nathdwara was 'Sinhaad'. It was when the Shrinathji's Haveli was built in 1672 that the village came to be known by its current name meaning 'Gateway of the Lord'. It is situated 48 Km from Udaipur on the banks of river Banas. Nathdwara is a significant Vashnavite Shrine about the Pushtimarg. Nathdwara town itself is popularly referred to as "Shrinathji" after the presiding deity. These are the essential details behind the intricacies of Shrinathji's painting Nathdwara.

Nathdwara is rich in art and culture and is the heart of Pichwai painting. Almost every home is a studio of art. Nathdwara's style of painting is very different because of its portrayal of the artist's love and affection for God. But sadly, lately handpainted Pichwais are replaced by gaudy images of Shrinathji made of wood & plaster. To find an authentic Pichwai Krishna painting, one needs to hunt streets behind temples or further away in Udaipur or Bhilwara. Label Pratham understands the importance of authenticity, thus, we have a collection of wearable art depicting true Pichwai art including Krishna lord painting, lotus Pichwai painting, and more.

'Chitra Seva', worship of painted representations of the actual svarups is encouraged and considered an important form of worship in Pushtimarg. Pichwai paintings served as accurate records of darshans and this serves as proof that artists started painting Shrinathji quite early followed by other subjects like festivals and leelas..

Pichwai painting can be divided into 2 broad categories- Decorative and Narrative. Decorative Pichwai are the ones which are always woven or embroidered and used in winter and spring seasons while Narrative Pichwai are painted ones used in summers and fall. The Pichwai is related to various utsavs and Leela's fall in this category.

Kamal Talai Pichwai is a Lotus Pichwai painting that shows the curling stems of lotus plants and fanlike leaves, and the numerous bees flitting from flower to flower - symbolizing Lord Krishna in playful interaction with his beloved Gopis. These are hung in the haveli during summer months to create a cool atmosphere, helping devotees visualize lotus ponds and the banks of river Yamuna.

During the summer months, light-coloured Pichwai like Jal Vihar or Nauka Vihar which means 'boating sports' are also hung behind Shrinathji in the sanctum which is meant to provide respite to child God from sweltering heat. These kinds of Pichwai are also created in lace technique, owing to its lightness which is appropriate for the season.

Devotion to Shrinathji reached its apogee in the 18th century soon after the child God arrived in Nathdwara with many rulers of princely states like Udaipur, Bikaner, Jaipur, Kota, Kishangarh becoming God's ardent devotees. This led to a rise in the riches of Nathdwara resulting in Pichwai art being painted on precious clothes in liquid gold and silver. Label Pratham is a pioneer that understands this history and takes the lineage ahead through our artistic collections.

Traditionally, Pichwai paintings used to be large and were hung only in the haveli. However, with time, artists started painting smaller versions of Pichwai on both cloth and paper. Since there are no rigid rules on hanging these auspicious paintings and given their smaller sizes, they found their way to museums and homes of devotees. Many art connoisseurs, too, buy Pichwai paintings for their visual appeal and not necessarily for religious beliefs.

Label Pratham was born out of a vision to translate art into wearable fashion. Our artistic core as a brand has been the legendary Pichwai art of Nathdwara in Rajasthan. Needless to say, we have always found great joy and inspiration from our spiritual muse, Lord Krisna. To commemorate Label Pratham's beginnings, we have put together various facts about age old art of Pichwai, under Did You Know series. It is a nostalgic revisiting of the time when the seed of Pratham had just begun to bloom. It was a time of exploring and experimenting, trials and tribulations. So often, we lose our way to the point where it all started, where it all began. This series is a way of paying homage to our roots, and to Sreenathji for forever guiding us.