BHOPA Panel (Rajasthan, India)
Item # 1: "Bhopa Phad"
Pabuji Ki Phad is a type of painting scroll characterictic from Rajasthan (India) used by the itinerant Bhopa religious caste to honour the deified medieval Rajput heroes Pabuji and Devnarayan. The scroll shows different narratives of the mentioned deities depicted on a long piece of cloth or canvas known as "Phad". The Bhopas are truly considered as the priest of these deities and they sing their heroic deeds in ensembles of two performers: the woman singer or Bhopi and the Bhopa narrator who usually plays the Ravanatha and sometimes sing too. The Phads are painted with vegetable or mineral colors by the Joshi clan of the Chipa caste who live in the Chittorgarh and Bhilwara areas of Rajasthan (India).
Item # 2: "Ravanatha"
The Ravanatha or Ravanahatha is a very basic string instrument made of a coconut and a simple pole, which could have been the ancestor of modern violin after Arab traders brought it to Europe from India via Near East transforming it in the Rebab. It was very popular in India both at grass root level and among the royal families in the medieval palaces and it is cleamed as the first musical instrument to be learned by princes.
Item # 3: 12 Big-format photographies (high-quality, A3)
More than a caste, Bhopas are an occupational guild minority generated in the Middle Ages, devoted to spread the heroic life of Pabuji. With the collapse of the Rajput social system in Rajasthan and adjacent areas in India, the Bhopas, as other many itinerant groups, moved to the slums of small cities, as Jaisalmer or Pushkar, to assume a semi-nomadic existence, roaming around in tents in search of customers during the fair season.
Pabuji epic tradition is a kind of domestic business inherited from generation to generation and learned from childhood and highly dependent of the Joshi Chipa painter, who provide Bhopa with the pictorial background for their public performances. However, with the advance of modern communication technologies, Bhopa have begun to sell the Phad as customers don´t feel anymore interested in epic traditions.
Bhopa singers and musicians use to live in the vecinity of other so-called "Gypsy communities", as the Bhat, who are puppeteers, the Kalbelia (snake-charmers and dancers), and the Langa and Manganyar (professional musicians), therefore during the tourist season they sometimes perform in "Gypsies ensembles" together with them.
Item # 4: Original audio-recording of Pabuji story-telling
Recorded originally for YURTA Association in 2010 by a Bhopa family of Pushkar and provided in MP4 format