This scroll by Madhu Chitrakar (India b.1967) is a ‘Yama pat’, Yama referring to the Lord of Death. Yama pats are often bloodthirsty and graphic depictions of hell, illustrating scenes such as a liar’s tongue being removed with hot tongs, or crabs devouring the sexual organs of a sinner.

Patachitra, or ‘pats’, are scroll paintings from West Bengal, intimately bound up with itinerant storytelling and songs. Historically, patachitra were cloth scrolls on which mythological or epic stories were painted as a sequence of frames. The artists (patua) would travel from village to village, slowly unrolling the scrolls and singing the stories. Patachitras have been compared to cinema frames or animation, and are said to be one of the oldest forms of audiovisual communication.

Exhibited in 'The 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art' (APT8) | 21 Nov 2015 – 10 Apr 2016


  • Title: Yamraj (the Lord of Death)
  • Creator: Madhu Chitrakar
  • Date Created: 2012
  • Location: India
  • Physical Dimensions: 345.5 x 56cm
  • Provenance: Purchased 2016 with funds from Professor Susan Street, AO, through the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art Foundation. Collection: Queensland Art Gallery
  • Subject Keywords: APT8, India, Madhu Chitrakar
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: © The artist
  • External Link: Kalpa Vriksha: Contemporary Indigenous and Vernacular Art of India
  • Medium: Natural colour on mill-made paper with fabric backing

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps