"The bejeweled paintings known as Thanjavur Painting have been more popular in Tamil Nadu than their birthplace, the land of Marathas."
The bejeweled paintings, known as Thanjavur Painting, are more popular in Tamil Nadu than their birthplace, the land of Marathas. These craft oriented paintings emerged around religion, demand a high degree of precision and generally portray the Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses. This style of painting has become very popular in the recent years nevertheless in most cases they are only copies of the ancient works. They are also appreciated for the craftsmanship they display and also for the richness in detail and creativity.
About Tanjore Paintings
- Tanjore paintings evoke a sense of class and timelessness with their alluring illustrations of puranic scenes. This ancient art form traces its origin to Thanjavur, capital of the erstwhile Chola Empire and is popular among contemporary Indian for showcasing their artistic inclination and tastes.
- Tanjore painting’s most popular form involves depicting characters in pot surrounded by other figures like consorts, relatives etc. such as Krishna and Yasodha, Krishna with Rukmani, Sivan Parvathy , Ramar Pattapishekam are placed within a frame work like a pavilion arches, curtains and decorative borders.
- The paintings are made of gems and heavy gilding. The outlines of the jewelry and other beautiful ornamentation have been raised by putty (applying a mix of natural gum and chalk powder). The colors used are also prepared from naturals sources.
- Tanjore painting is the best form of art when it comes to illustrating the Vedic meaning behind each divine avatar. Made of 22-carat gold foil, Tanjore paintings last for hundreds of years.
- The paintings are decorated by gilde and gem-set technique, a technique where 22 carat gold foils & sparkling stones are used to highlight certain aspects of the painting like ornaments, dresses etc.
- The paintings are done in wooden panels. In tamil it is called “Palagai padam” Three are four stages to be filled in the particular drawing on which the gems and gold had be placed.
- Tanjore painting is done with devotion and dedication.
- The richly ornamented works become the icons of the worship and almost replace bronze images. The paintings stress sanctity rather than artistic achievement and were sacred objects limited to the pooja rooms.
What is tanjore paintings?
Tanjore painting is a classical South Indian painting style that was originated from Thanjavur and spread across the adjoining and geographically contiguous Tamil country, by leaving huge significance in all the parts of the area. The painting is characterized by rich, flat and vivid colors, simple iconic composition and glittering gold to make it look more attractive. In tanjore paintings, one can see the influence of Deccan, Vijayanagar, Maratha and even European styles of painting, serving as devotional icons, the subjects of most paintings are Hindu gods, goddesses, and saints.
History & Evolution
Thanjavur has a unique place in the history of Indian painting as these paintings were placed in the 11th century in the Brihadeeswarar temple. According to the British chronicler Charles Gold, in his book Oriental Drawings which was published in 1806, these paintings were painted by 'Moochys or Artists of India'. Tanjore glass paintings, following the techniques of Chinese reverse glass paintings were so popularized that these paintings were done on the reverse surface of a glass sheet with strips of metal beaten into transparent gaps to simulate the effect of jewelery and precious stones.
How Tanjore Paintings are made ?
Tanjore paintings are the panel paintings that are crafted on a canvas over a wooden plank with Arabic gum, and hence, referred to as Palagai Padam in local parlance, where Palagai means 'wooden plank' and Padam means 'picture'. The artists then draw or trace a detailed outline of the main and subsidiary subjects on the canvas using a stencil. Most of the thanjavur paintings that are designed are of Hindu deities & saints. Today, these paintings have become souvenirs for festive occasions in South India where art lovers decorate their walls and area with these tanjore paintings.