Kalighat painting derives its name from its place of originKalighat, in Kolkata - the erstwhile capital of British India. This painting form has its roots in the cultural upheavals of nineteenth century colonial Bengal. At this time a huge number of village folk had migrated from rural Bengal and settled in and around the famous Kalighat temple. Amongst them, many were potters and scroll painters. These were the people whose painting style and themes later came to be known as Kalighat painting. They used watercolors and painted on inexpensive mill papers.
Brushes were made from squirrel and calf hair. Cheap color pigments were applied in transparent tones, which was totally different from the traditional of Indian tempera. With shaded contours and articulated gesture and movement, the figures attained a plaque-like effect on a neutral unpainted ground. The style is characterized by formal and linear economy, meaningful gestures, and quality brushwork and flawless rhythmic strokes. The drawings are bold and attractive and at the same time their technique is different and simple.