vivid traditional South Indian color combinations and overlaid by 24 Karat,
this Tanjore painting portrays Maryada Purushottam Ramachandra. He appeared on
the earth to attract the lost and ignorant souls toward God-consciousness and
taught them to live their lives according to Dharma. Since He is the Supreme
Personality of Godhead, He remains above the modes of material nature, and with
His inconceivable potencies, He only revealed His identity to His associates
and devotees. To date, the teachings of the wonderful pastimes of Lord Rama
(Ramayana) are studied and learned, which help us remain absorbed in His lotus
feet and execute our responsibilities and duties in accordance with the
principles of Dharma.
warrior, a faithful son, a valiant King, a dutiful husband, and a loving
brother, Lord Ram, is depicted in this painting in a wonderful way. He stands straight
yet humble with His mother Kaushalya and father Dasharatha. Dasharatha was the
King of Ayodhya and Kaushalya, his first wife. They both loved their son Ram
with all their heart. Lord Ram was very loyal to His parents, friends, and brothers.
This is the reason why He was loved the most in the whole of Ayodhya. Clad in a
pitambar dhoti and adorned with several glittering ornaments on His
self-effulgent body, He appears just like the glowing sun. Lord Ram being
Vishnu tattva, is depicted here in His four-armed form, holding the Panchajanya
Conch shell and the divine Sudarshan Chakra in His two upper arms. With His
lower right hand, He holds a full-blown lotus flower (represents purity) and
with the left hand He holds a mace. On His strong shoulder, He carries the
divine bow Saranga and arrow which are the symbol of His great strength.
Maharaj Dasharatha being a great father of the greatest Lord Ram stands with
ecstasy and Maa Kaushalya in great affection folds her hands and pays her
Tanjore painting is a traditional form of art in the South Indian
style and was started by the inhabitants of a small town known as
Thanjavur of Tamil Nadu. This gives it another name called
“Thanjavur painting”. This painting draws its figures, designs,
and inspiration from the time when Vedic culture was prevalent in
India. Certain remarkable features of a Tanjore painting
distinguish it from other paintings. Some of these are pure gold
or gold foil coating on gesso work, the use of rich and vivid
colors, and the inlay of cut-glass or semi-precious and precious
stones. The subjects of most of the Tanjore paintings are Hindu
Gods, Goddesses, and saints. The main devotional figure is
portrayed in the central portion of the painting and is usually
surrounded by various secondary figures.
The classic Tanjore paintings are done on wooden planks and hence
are also referred to as Palagai Padam in South India (Palagai =
Wooden plank, Padam = Picture). Creating a masterpiece is never an
easy task but the skilled artists of Thanjavur have been following
the tradition of making timeless Tanjore paintings for decades.
The making process begins with preparing the wooden board or
canvas. The size of the board depends upon the choice of the
patron. The next step is to paste cardboard over the wooden board
and then a cotton fabric is stretched and pasted upon it using
Now that the cloth is attached to the wooden panel, a rough sketch
of the motifs and figure is drawn onto the fabric. After this, a
paste of chalk powder and water-soluble adhesive is evenly applied
over the base and smoothed.
Thereafter, the outlines which were made or traced using a stencil
are now ready to be beautified and decked with various add-ons.
The usual materials for decoration are cut-glass, pearls,
semi-precious and precious gems, gold leaf, and laces. 22 or 18
Karat Gold leaves and gems of varied hues are especially inlaid in
areas like pillars, arches, walls, thrones, and dresses.
In the final step, the rest of the painting is filled with rich
and striking colors such as shades of red, blue, and green.
Formerly, the artists used natural colors like vegetable and
mineral dyes instead of chemical paints. The entire painting is
then cleaned and refined to give a flawless finished look.
Since the making of a single piece of Tanjore painting requires a
complex and elaborate process, the artists usually take at least
one or two months to complete it. The use of pure gold foil and
gems for beautification is a characteristic of an authentic
Tanjore painting. Due to this, Tanjore paintings last for
generations without getting tarnished and are much more expensive
than general paintings. Though the art form has undergone various
changes and technique modifications over the years, it continues
to attract the hearts of art lovers.
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