Early in the nineteenth century, Kalighat was in its heyday, drawing pilgrims, merchants and artisans from all over the country. Among them were scroll painters from elsewhere in Bengal, who developed the distinctive style now known as Kalighat pat. Adapting Western techniques, using paper and water-based paints instead of tempera, they moved away from religious themes to depict contemporary subjects. By 1850, Kalighat pat had taken a dynamic new direction, satirizing the middle classes in much the same way as today’s political cartoons. They serve as a witty record of the period, filled with images of everyday life, and can be found in galleries and museums around the world, and in the Indian Museum as well as the Birla Academy and Ashutosh Museum in Kolkata.

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