Amazing facts about Tanjore Paintings

Amazing facts about Tanjore Paintings

Tanjore Painting is a traditional South Indian style of painting. It originated in Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu, and spread geographically over several centuries. The paintings are unlike any other paintings and are unique in every way. They have a rich heritage and the central figures are Hindu gods and goddesses. It is highly intricate art and its origins can be traced back to the Nayakas of Vijayanagar dynasty in 1600 AD.

Here are some interesting facts about Tanjore Paintings.

-Tanjore paintings are made using precious and semi-precious gems. They are vibrant, rich and overlaid with gold foils. Inlay of glass beads and pieces, and extensive gesso work are used to make these paintings.

- Tanjore paintings are an amalgamation of different cultures. They are influenced by various dynasties and cultures, like the Vijayanagar, Deccan, and Maratha, and even European style of paintings.

-They mostly depict Hindu gods, goddesses and saints and always have a story to tell. They are visual interpretations of various episodes taken from Hindu Puranas, and other religious texts. The background is traced or sketched and the main deity or saint is painted in the centre of the picture. The central figure is surrounded by several other supplementary figures, subjects and themes.

- Now other religious and even secular subjects are being depicted in Tanjore paintings.

-Tanjore paintings are done on wooden planks and are also known as “palagaipadam”. Palagai means “wooden plank” and padam means “picture”.

- During festivals and other auspicious occasions in South India, these paintings are gifted as souvenirs, and they are used to adorn the walls of homes and offices. For all the art lovers they continue to remain a collector’s item.

-The art is deeply rooted in traditions and continues to be sacred. Hence not much innovation is done on these paintings.

-Tanjore paintings are not only popular in India but all over the world. A large collection of Tanjore paintings can be found in the Victoria & Albert Museum in England and the National Museum of Copenhagen.

- Tanjore paintings are unique as they are crafted with meticulous care.

-The pictures have a three dimensional effect, and are made in different sizes – from miniature paintings to murals on walls.

- The bark of the jackfruit tree was used as the canvas for the paintings during the early days. They were later replaced by panels or plywood.

-Traditionally diamonds and rubies were used, but now they have been replaced with glass pieces or semi-precious stones. Similarly, chemical paints are now used instead of vegetable dyes.

However, many Tanjore painters still stick to the traditional methods of painting.

Tanjore paintings are unique in their own way and are a marvellously beautiful form of art. They represent a vibrant and rich cultural heritage of our country.