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Tanjore Painting


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Thanjavur Painting

Tanjore paintings, a renowned art form which boast of unique style are characteristic of Tamil Nadu. This art originated in Tanjore or Thanjavur, a place about 300 from Chennai. Known for its elegance, use of rich colors and attention to detail, this Tanjore art dates back to early 16th century, when the Chola kings were the rulers of this part of South India Besides building magnificent temples, the Chola Kings also nurtured art and literature.



Tanjore glass painting

These decorative paintings which adorn the walls of the puja rooms in residences, arcades in major hotels and lobbies in corporate offices are exquisitely ornamented in relief. Most of these paintings are based on themes of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and scenes from Hindu mythology. The most popular subjects include Krishna on a swing with a butter bowl, Lord Ganesha sitting on a throne, baby Ganesha hugging a Shiva Linga, Pendant Krishna, Yasodha and Krishna and Krishna with his consorts.


The subjects of these paintings are portrayed with cherubic faces and almond shaped eyes. Brilliant color schemes and inlay of semi precious stones, cut glass, pure gold foils and real pearls are the hallmark of Tanjore paintings. Several stages of meticulous work are involved before a Tanjore painting is completed. From making of the board sketching, muck work, inlaying of semi precious stones, pasting the gold foil to painting of the subject, utmost care is given to details. Patience as well as precision are essential when working on a Tanjore painting.


Making of a Tanjore Painting

The process of creating a Tanjore painting involves many stages. By pasting layers of cloth on a wooden or plywood base, the canvas for the painting is prepared. Then chalk powder mixed with water soluble adhesive is applied on the base. To get a smoother base, a mild abrasive is also used. The impression of the subject is then taken on the base using a carbon sheet. The jewelry and apparel worn by the subject are then decorated with semi-precious stones. Pure gold foils are pasted on top of this as relief work. Dyes are finally used to add vibrant colors to the figures in the paintings. A beautiful frame is then selected to enhance the beauty of the work of art.


These Tanjore paintings can be created in various sizes. The price of the painting hinges on the size and subject of the painting. Traditionally Tanjore paintings are framed in carved teakwood which is later polished in dark brown color. Besides being decorative adornments, Tanjore paintings make nice gifts for weddings, birthdays and other special occasions. Like any other art form, Tanjore painting has also undergone some changes. New techniques, media and images are used by contemporary artists.


Tanjore Painting