Tanjore paintings which depict mainly the scenes
from the ancient scriptures of Hindu religion are one of the most
famous style of paintings from south India. These paintings are
unique due to the harmony of colours, the design and the traditional
techniques used with meticulous attention to details.
Tanjore derives its name from the capital of Chola
empire, Thanjavoor. This place has one of the beautiful temple
of Lord Shiva-Brigadeeswara temple. This art form was developed
with the patronage of the Maratha rulers in the 18th century.This
type of art which is famous for its ornamental relief work flourished
with the patronage of the kings. The process of making a Tanjore
painting requires dedicated skilled labour. There are many stages
during the making of this painting. The canvas is usually a plank
of teak wood over which a layer of cloth is pasted. A paste is
applied on top to soften the board. The surface is smoothened
by rubbing it with a smooth emery paper. The artist draws detailed
sketch on the board. Semi precious stones of different colours
are used to decorate the painting. In earlier days, diamonds,
rubies and other precious stones were used. To create three dimensional
embossed effect, layers of paste prepared from the glue and limestone
are applied. After carrying out detailed relief work, wafer like
sheets of 22 carat gold are pasted on top. Bright colours are
used to fill up the remaining areas. The main figures in the picture
is large and the other figures may not be relative.
New techniques have been developed by skilled
artist to keep this form of art alive. Chalk powder and modern
synthetic pasting material have replaced the traditional materials.
Modern day artists use chemical paints instead of vegetable dyes
for colours and shades. But still enormous care is exercised in
adhering to tradition while depicting the pictures.
Article contributed by Vidya Sridharan
About the Author: A renowned Tanjore artist,
Vidya Sridharan has conducted a few exhibitions in different places
in India, the recent one was in Pune during Ganesh Chaturti festival.
Her paintings adore a lot of homes, restaurants and hotels. She
is making sincere attempts to spread this form of painting by
conducting workshops and classes.
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