Narrative Scrolls from West Bengal

Appropriate for grades:
Subject areas: History and Social Studies Visual and Performing Arts

In West Bengal, India, a traditional caste community of artists, called patuas, paint colorful scrolls to accompany songs which they sing to relate historic, current, religious and cultural events to their audiences. These itinerant painters/singers are part of a long lineage that has passed the tradition down for generations.

Teaching / Learning Goals:

Teachers and students will …


  • To learn about the process of making narrative scrolls in the patua style and how they are used over time to convey important events and transmit cultural values(historical and cultural understanding).
  • To explore the imagery used in patua paintings (perceiving, analyzing and responding).
  • To use your own imagery to create a narrative scroll painting (creating and performing).

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