Phad painting is a style of religious scroll painting and folk painting, practiced in the state of Rajasthan, India. This style of painting is traditionally done on a long piece of cloth or canvas, known as a phad.
Phad painting is created on a coarse, hand-woven cotton fabric that is soaked overnight to thicken the threads. Next, it is hardened with rice or flour starch, stretched and dried in the sun, and rubbed with moonstone to smooth the surface and give it a shine. The colors are handmade by the artist and mixed with gum and water before being applied to the fabric.
A 700-year-old legacy passed down from generation to generation in the same family, Phad traces its origins to Shahpura, near Bhilwara, in Rajasthan. Phad is a type of scroll that tells complex religious stories about local gods and deities. Created as portable or tourist temples, these traditional paintings were made by priests-singers of the Rabari tribe, known as Bhopas and Bhopis, who sang and performed verses stories about their local gods - Devnarayanji (an incarnation of Vishnu) and Pabuji (a local hero). The Phad painting will be rolled or unfolded after sunset, and the performance in front of village members will last into the night. Perhaps that's why the paintings are called "Phad", which in the local language means "fold".