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Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Tanjore Paintings

Tanjore painting is a major form of classical South Indian Painting from the town of Thanjavur, a period when the "Nayakas" of Thanjavur encouraged art, classical dance and music as well as literature, both in Telugu and Tamil. Tanjore Paintings are known for their surface richness, vivid colours, compact composition and especially the Glittering Gold foils used to give the paintings their rich look. Essentially serving as devotional icons, the subjects of most paintings are Hindu gods,goddesses and saints. episodes from Hindu tradition are drawn upon as elaborations of main figures placed in the central section of the picture. Tanjore paintings panel paintings done on solid wood planks, and hence referred to as palagai padam ( palagai = "wooden plank" ; padam = "picture") in local parlance.

Techniques Behind Tanjore Paintings:

Making a Tanjore painting involves many stages. First the artist makes a preliminary sketch of the image on the base, which is a piece of cloth pasted onto wood. Then Chalk powder or zinc oxide is mixed with water-soluble adhesive and applied on the base. Sometimes a mild abrasive is used to make the base smoother. After the drawing is made, the jewellery and apparel in the image are decorated with semi-precious stones. Thread is also used to decorate the jewellery. A Mixture called "muk" is prepared using chalk powder and African gum in the ration of 2:1. The muk is applied in places around the stones and other areas to give an  embossed look. Gold foil is pasted on top of this. Finally, dyes are used to add colour to the figures in the paintings.
High quality gold foil is used to ensure that the paintings last generations. Paintings come in three finishes: classic, antique style and embossed. In the classic finish, bold colors and striking backgrounds are combined with high glitter gold foil, while in the antique style, with more subtle colors and plain backgrounds. The embossed paintings are similar to the classic style but are embossed to give greater depth.
The figure in Tanjore paintings are static and located in the center inside beautifully decorated arches or curtains. Eyes are broad, the outer lines are either brown or red, for Krishna they are blue. Originally only Krishna figures were painted but now a variety of figures are depicted.