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Painting Traditions in India

Tanjore Paintings :

Tamil Nadu is known for its traditional ornate paintings, known as Tanjore paintings. This art originated in the 16th century, under royal patronage. These paintings are created after a meticulous and long drawn processocess, which involves many stages. Layers of cloth are pasted over wood, to create the base for painting. This is treated with lime paste, to make the surface smooth for painting. The next step involves, drawing outlines of the figures. Later pearls, semi-precious stones, beaten gold leaf and gilt metal are stuck on the image with a mixture of sawdust and glue.

Remaining areas are painted in bright colours. The main theme of these paintings is the depiction of gods and goddesses. The main figure in the painting is quite big, compared to other figures. The figures are plump, having chubby, angelic faces. Utmost care is taken to depict these figures, which are bedecked with heavy ornamentation.

Pata Chitra Paintings :

Orissa craftsmen, generally create paintings on cloth, in the form of scrolls. These paintings are known as Pata Chitra and mainly depict stories pertaining to Jagannath temple of Puri. Mainly cotton or tussar silk is used and coated with a mixture of chalk, tamarind seed and gum to give the surface of the cloth a leathery texture. These paintings are created in the form of scrolls. These painted scrolls, depicted mythology and stories relating to various gods and goddesses. These paintings are known for bright vibrant colours and distinct lines.

Kalamkari Paintings :

Machilipatnam and Srikalahasti in Andhra Pradesh are known for Kalamkari paintings made on cloth. This art form derives its name from kalam or pen, which is used to trace outlines patterns and images. The Kalamkari technique involves drawing outlines with burnt tamarind twigs dipped in molasses and iron fillings. The vegetables dyes of deep shades are used to create epic and religious scenes. A sober final effect, is created with repeating the process of colouring. The unique thing about these painting is that no two panels are similar. Vegetable and mineral pigments are used to create these paintings.

Phad Paintings :

Rajasthan the land of colours is known for Phad painting, which is done on cloth. This type of painting is mainly found in the Bhilwara district. The main theme of these paintings is the depiction of local deities and their stories, and legends of erstwhile local rulers. Phad is a type of scroll painting. These paintings are created while using bright and subtle colours. The paintings depicting exploits of local deities are often carried from place to place and are accompanied by traditional singers, who narrate the theme depicted on the scrolls. The outlines of the paintings are first drawn in block and later filled with colours. Rajasthan is also known for Pichwais, which are paintings made on cloth. Pichwais are more refined and detailed than Phads. They are created and used as backdrops in the Shrinathji temple at Nathdwara and in other Krishna temples. The main theme of these paintings is Shrinathji and his exploits. Pichwais are painted, printed with hand blocks, woven, embroidered or decorated in appliqué.

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Explore the colors and images of incredible India at this rare online gallery of Indian Paintings, consisting magnificent Madhubani paintings, mysterious Warli paintings, Patachitras, Tribal Paintings, Thangka Paintings and also contemporary Indian art paintings.