Tanjore Paintings : Culture is a dynamic force that complements the life pattern of a society. It reflects the procession of time and the crisscross patterns of migratory influences in arts and other progressions of life.
Ancient Tamil Nadu, in the Southern part of India, comprised of three kingdoms, the Chera, the Chola and the Pandya. The Chera kingdom roughly corresponds to the area of the present Kerala state, the Chola corresponds to the northern area of Tamil Nadu and the Pandya to the southern area of Tamil Nadu.
Chola kingdom it’s capital Thanjavur can be called the gift of Cauvery. The word Thanjavur reflects the meaning of “a place of refuge” (thanjam) in Tamil. The land of Tanjore has been a background of mythology, the God of Wealth, Kubera ruled from this place.
During the reign of Rajaraja Cholan, many sculptors and painters from Andhra came to Tanjore. The Vaishnavite element in paintings entered the “chitrakootam”. The walls of the Ramaswamy temple at Kumbakonam were painted with Ramayana episode and the Ramar Pattabhishekam scene painted there was adopted for Tanjore Painting by the Andhra painters.
The painting artists of Tanjore were of Telugu speaking origin. There are two main communities of these families, Rajus in Thanjavur and Trichy and Nayudus in Madurai. Both are from Andhra area and they came down to Thanjavur and Madurai in search of patronage after the disintegration of the Vijayanagar Empire. F.R. Hemingray in Madras district gazette, Madras 1906, reports, “some good painting is done at Tanjore by men of Raju caste. They paint on wooden tablets or on cloth made beautifully smooth with a paste of powder and gum and their drawing is correct and the tints employed are astonishingly delicate and even”. This is a reference to early Tanjore Painting artists of Tanjore.
Timelessness is one of those words that floats around blissfully, it is a quality that we generally assume “great art” to have, while lesser works of art do not.
Quoting an essay, “Great art always has two qualities with relation to temporality. It is of its moment – any art cannot help but be shaped by the realities of the era, but great art also reflects and shapes its moment, and does so in a different manner than equally great art of an earlier era. It is timely. Simultaneously, great art transcends its moment, it communicates powerfully well after its creation. It is timeless.”
Tanjore Painting is closely associated with and interlinked to Hinduism, it’s lore, puranas and epics.
The mainstay is God and Goddesses who were objects of worship from time immemorial. The earlier painters were called upon to paint the walls of temples, palaces, durbar halls with mythological and puranic subjects. the painters were also asked to paint portraits of the royal family. They were on the payrolls of the royal treasury.
The art of painting was generally hereditary. Training in painting was passed on from generation to generation, handed down to the family by the elders and experienced. In an orthodox method of teaching involving a combination of tradition and innovation, the training covers a period of three years.
In the first year, after auspicious initiation, the trainee is taught to prepare free hand designs, which include the various Godheads mudras, outline of the Godheads, flowers and animals, curtains, embellishments, angels in line drawings. Along with the pencil drawings, the outlines of the various parts of the body, proportion, apparels like dhotis, sarees and ornaments are taught. Later, brush practice is initiated. Pencil models are also taught. along with and immediately after brush practice, application of color shades is taught.
Today, Tanjore Paintings are made on a wooden board, richly embossed with 22 carat gold foil, embellished with semi-precious stones. A variety of themes are depicted, from Hindu gods/goddesses to Jesus, Mother Mary and jewels and musical instruments in today’s tanjore paintings.
At Timeless Tanjore, we strive to make every painting timeless. Our focus on high quality materials, such as water-proof, termite-proof, kitply wooden base, original 24 carat gold foil, 100% authentic Jaipur gemstones and natural pigments for painting ensure that your Tanjore Painting will stand the test of time. Divine subjects also demand that the painting be of a beautiful, admirable nature, and we ensure that every painting of ours evokes devotion and steals the hearts of onlookers.
We also take Tanjore Painting classes in Bangalore.