Painting Traditions in the Vallabha Sampradaya

How to Cite

Tryna Lyons. (2022). Painting Traditions in the Vallabha Sampradaya: Journal of Vaishnava Studies. Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 21(2), 21–34. Retrieved from


The Vallabha Sampradaya, also known as Pushtimarg, has a long tradition of artistic patronage. Its best-known art form is the picchavai, which serves as the backdrop for rituals of exceptional aesthetic refinement. Before considering these temple hangings and their uses, let us look briefly at the history of this religious denomination and its emphasis on visual creativity. The Pushtimarg sect was founded by Vallabhacharya in the last decade of the 15th century. A scholar and religious reformer, Vallabhacharya was born into
a family of South Indian Brahmins who had settled in Benares. Like his Bengali contemporary Chaitanya, Vallabha was part of the great movement of devotional Hinduism (bhakti) that had begun in the eighth century or earlier in the South and spread rapidly across the subcontinent. Those who taught and practiced bhakti stressed the importance of an intimate, loving relationship with a personal god; they also rejected the elaborate restrictions of the caste system and the primacy of Sanskrit, often preferring to address the deity in vernacular poetry

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