MATERIAL: Hand-Drawn
TYPE: Phad
NOTES: Literature: Pages 89-90 in the coffee table book 'Indian Textiles' by John Gillow & Nicholas Bernard show younger examples of the Phad. Reference examples: 1. Brooklyn Museum, New York 2. Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam 3. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco.
ITEM ID: 5279
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Pabjubi Ki Phad

Notes: Estimated to date from the late 1800s to the early 1900s.

One section of Pabuji-Ki-Phad. Used as a backdrop mural for devotional performances by ‘Bhopas’ who are invited to celebrations and festivals to narrate the story of the Lok Deva or folk gods.

According to scholar Arpit Pansari, “Pabuji was a local deity from Rajasthan.”

Phads are passed down from father to son in the Bhopa family and contain several scenes from the life of Pabuji and is used to illustrate the stories during the Bhopa’s performance and each Phad is used over 3-4 generations.

This Phad was acquired from one of the few surviving Phad artists who continue to practice their ancestral art. When Bhopas commission a new Phad the old ancestral Phad is usually consecrated and laid down in holy waters. In a few cases the Phad artist requests that the old Phad be retained for artisitic purposes. This is one such Phad. Colors used are all natural colors. The canvas panels used are narrower as only narrow looms were available in the past.

Pabuji Ki Phad is a religious scroll painting of folk deities, which is used for a musical rendition of the only surviving ancient traditional folk art form, Phad painting in the world of the epic of Pabuji, the Rathod Rajput chief.

Bhopas of Pabusar are the bards and also priests who are the traditional narrators of this art form. The Phad is also spelt as “Par.” This art form is popular in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Literally, ‘Pabuji Ki Phad’ translates into two versions namely, “The Screen of Pabuji or O, Read of Pabuji!. Pabuji is also known as “the Ascetic Deity of Sand Desert”.

The three basic features associated with this art form are: the epic story of Pabuji, the Rathod chief of Rajasthan in the 14th century, who is extolled as an incarnation of Hindu God, and worshipped by the Rabari tribals of Rajasthan; the Phad or Par, which is a long scroll painting (or sewn) made on cloth, with the martial heroics of Pabuji richly displayed for worship; and the bard priests, known as the Bhopas (who belong to the cult of Pabhuji) of the nomadic tribe of Nayakas and specialists in narrating the story of the Pabuji in their sartorial best through the medium of the Phads used as a portable temple, all over the desert lands of the Thar in Rajasthan.