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Tanjore Art: An Ancient Traditional Indian Art Form

Permanent Linkby indianartideas on Tue Jun 28, 2016 1:48 am

India is known for its rich cultural heritage and unique art forms. Traditional Indian art is so diverse that many Indians remain unaware about the various indigenous art forms and hues that the country offers. Since time immemorial, art has been an important element of Indian life. In villages, traditional Indian art was ornamented on the walls of houses and courtyards. People used to earn their livelihood by practicing different forms of art and craft. In early times, people practiced various art forms with the help of most rudimentary material available at that time. The simplicity of paintings make it appealing to general masse.


Looking back into the glorious past of traditional Indian art, we cannot overlook the beauty of Ajanta Ellora caves and exquisite form of artwork that portray daily routine life of a common man. There are numerous types of traditional artwork, including Madhubani, Patachitra, Pithora, Nirmal, Warli, Tanjore, and Phad painting that depicts history of India. Each form of painting reflects cultural and socio-economic milieu of India putting emphasis on the life and work of Indian Territory.

Indian folk paintings are as diverse as its culture. This blog attempts at discussing Tanjore art, an indigenous and traditional art form.

Tanjore painting is a classical form of South Indian painting which originated in the town of Thanjavur, city of Tamil Nadu and spread across geographical boundaries of the country. The history of Tanjore paintings date back to 16th century under the reign of Cholas. It is a vibrant form of artwork with rich colors and dense compositions. The durability of the paintings distinguish them from other forms of paintings. The motifs of Tanjore artworks were Hindu god and goddesses, saints, and rulers. The main figure was always painted in the central point. The portraits were made on wood and cloth made canvases. As this artwork was mostly done on wooden planks, it came to be known as ‘Palagai Padam’ (Palagai means wooden plan and Padam means painting).

This form of painting is done on an unbleached cloth attached to a wooden board. This traditional Indian art painting was outlined with a combination of chalk powder and gum Arabica in order to create a three dimensional effect. The characteristics of the Tanjore paintings are color schemes, decorative jewelry with stones and cut glasses along with remarkable gold leaf work. This form of art represents splendid visual treat giving life to the pictures that come in new way.

This form of artwork continues to hold its sway in the present day as well but have undergone some changes. The style and material used while crafting Tanjore painting have changed. It is due to advancements in technology that new modes of painting came into being. Poster, acrylic, and oil colors have significantly replaced the colors used to paint classical style of art with the help of vegetable dyes. Choosing Tanjore paintings to décor your living area or for gifting purpose add value for money.

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