Simrik: Colours of Poubha
The traditional Poubha art still breathes at a small double-storied old house amidst the crowded streets of Patan Doka. And Lok Chitrakar’s hands are those that keep the dying art alive.
The Poubha paintings date back to the 4 th century but were faced with a threat during the 17 th century towards the end of Malla’s era with the drying up patronage and consequent weakening of community structures in the valleys. Meanwhile, the art form was carried to Tibet. It was there the Thangka took birth from the Poubha style. The Thangka has gained immense popularity worldwide with its linkage to Buddhism but today’s generation mostly unaware of Poubha paintings, said Lok Chitrakar.
The Poubha genre developed as a unique heritage of the Newars and is a visual interpretation of the Buddhist and Hindu philosophies as practiced in the Vajrayan tradition. As per the ritual for painting, the artist must seclude himself from the materialistic world and must be pious and holy. The Poubha is created on a cotton cloth across a wooden frame. Water based colors grounded by hand from stones from the Himalayas, sable-hair brushes; gold and silver dusts are some of the tools used in the paintings.