Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Tanjore Sari

Tanjore Sari  
Tanjore Paintings are a form of art prevalent in Tamil Nadu and named after the town of Tanjore or Thanjavur. These paintings, although originally made on wooden planks and then on cloth canvas backed by a wooden frame, were adapted onto fabrics especially South Indian silk textiles. These are some of the richest, most luscious fabrics in South India. The paintings themselves have a very bold and rich look about them and when printed on fabric, create an outfit so grand, that it is fit solely for formal wear.


In the 1600s, the inspiration for the Tanjore paintings came about in the Tanjore area under the suzerainty of the Vijayanagara Rayas. However, the modern forms of the Tanjore paintings are said to have originated in the Maratha court of Tanjore and was widely practiced between 1676 and 1855 AD. The artists who panted these works hailed from the Chitragar and Naidu communities.

In the 1800s, the Tanjore paintings were created to suit Western (specifically British) sensibilities; in that the motifs that were painted changed from religious to a mix of religious and secular

The Making

The original Tanjore paintings were made using powders of lime and tamarind seeds on cloth stretched over a wooden canvas. These paintings are high-relief and are characterized by flat yet rich and vivid colors and simple iconic composition. The other materials used to embellish or define the motifs were gold foil laid on extensive yet intricate gesso work and an inlay of beads made of glass as well as precious and semi-precious gems.


Tanjore paintings in and of themselves need to preserved by framing them. The silk sarees with the Tanjore painting motifs on them however, need to be preserved like any other silk saree. It needs to be wrapped in Muslin along with naphthalene balls for protection against moths. It is preferable to dry clean them rather than wash them.

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