Phad of the Phad: Reading and Writing of the Ritual Craft


  • S Sharma Manipal University Jaipur, India



Phad Painting, After Life of the Craft or Contemporary Craft, Visual Ethnography, Great and little traditions


The primary objective of this paper is an attempt to understand the ‘Liminal Quality of the
Ritual’ with reference to the Phad painting i.e. famous folk craft of Rajasthan. Phad painting majorly
divided into three components which are, visual (imagery), oral (story telling) and performative. How
these three components are interconnected? And how each component is changing according to the
evolving communities? There is an urgency to record and understand these facts, keeping in mind this
study is an attempt to explore about the origin of this folk tradition and it’s contemporisation. The
other objective of this study is to communicate what the Modern/Urban community communicates
through their oral narratives and through their folk mediums.
During research the findings have suggested that most of the time these local deities are the incarnation
of Greater God to develop the connection between great tradition and little traditions.
In today’s
scenario cotemporary tales, myths, stories, talks about the current issues of the modern communities.
And these modern communities have modern Gods, such as Om Banna JI who is recently developed
‘Folk God’ of Rajasthan of Pali district near Jodhpur. The new God addresses the modern issues and
sometimes old folk Gods such as Papuji or Teja ji etc also deal with prevailing issues of the
communities. These stories, myths are shifting, symbols, signs, meanings are also shifting, and
resulting the so called “Traditional Craft” is also shifting towards the contemporisation.


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Chippa Community is basically Block printers . the term that Bhopas used for the making of the phad as the

act of Chappna which literally means ‘printing’. For more details read Singh Kavita (1998), To show, To See,

To Tell, to Know: patuas, Bhopas, and their Audiences. Marg Publications

Tracing paper which help to replicate the same art work.

For more details read Joshi O.P. (1976) ‘Painted Folklore & Folklore Painters of India’. Delhi: concept

Bharucha Rustom ‘Rajasthan an oral history conversation with Komal Kothari ‘

Smith, J. (2012). The epic of Pabuji. New Delhi: KATHA.

According to Smith “ if different events are depicted next to one another, it is not because they happened in

rapid succession but because they happened in close proximity.”

Smith, J. (2012). The epic of Pabuji. New Delhi: katha.

Joshi,O. (1976). Painted Folklore and Folklore Painters of India. Delhi: Concept Pub. Co.




How to Cite

Sharma, S. (2020). Phad of the Phad: Reading and Writing of the Ritual Craft. Proceeding of the International Conference on Arts and Humanities, 6(1), 16–24.