Object Of The Month

Pithora Paintings

Pithora Paintings
Baba Pithoro driving a bullock cart, on handmade paper, early 21st century

Pithora Paintings, Gujarat, Early 21st Century



Pithora paintings are traditionally painted on the walls of homes of the Rathwa community of Gujarat, India. The two modern pithora paintings in the museum collection are painted on handmade paper and cotton, as they were created for a commercial market. 

Baba Pithoro, depicted in these paintings, is the god of food grains but other local deities are also sometimes depicted in the wall paintings. The wall paintings are usually situated between the kitchen and the courtyard, where food is prepared.

Baba Pithoro, on cotton cloth, late 20th century


The wall paintings are considered sacred and painting can only commence on the orders of the badva (shaman or oracle). A specialist artist, known as a lekhar, paints the wall accompanied by singing, dancing and a ritual narrated by the badva

It is a celebration enjoyed by the whole community and reflected in the vibrancy of the images