auspiciousness, this painting portrays the divine family of Mahadeva Shiva; his
eternal consort Devi Parvati, and the two sons Lord Kartikeya and Lord Ganesha.
Lord Shiva is revered as Param Vaishnava (the greatest devotee of Vishnu).
Although he is an ascetic yogi, at the same time, he is also a great grihasta.
Devi Parvati is the internal potency of Shiva and in order to please him, she
is always engaged in his loving service. Their first son Lord Kartikeya is
regarded as the God of War and is worshiped as Murugan in South India. His
brother Lord Ganesha is known as Vighnaharta as he removes all the obstacles
from the path of success (both material and spiritual) of his devotees.
style artwork is matchless because of its unique illustration with vivid colors
and 24 Karat gold coating embellishment. Here, all of them are seated on a big
throne with a Kirtimukha prabhavali (a surrounding arch) behind which, the
snowy peaks of the Mount Kailash (the abode of Lord Shiva) can be seen. Lord
Shiva is unprecedently clad in a yellow dhoti, adorned with a flower garland
which is unusual. A serpent is wrapped around his neck and he holds a Dumaroo
and a Trident in his upper hands. The merciful and empathetic Devi Parvati is
seated next to the Lord, attired in a bright red saree and adorned with a huge
crown on her head. The noble Lord Kartikeya is seated on her lap. He holds a
weapon known as Vel (spear) in his left hand, while the right is in Abhaya
Mudra. On the other side of Lord Shiva, the chief of Ganas, Ganesha, is seated
with an elephant head and human body, he looks at his elder brother with love.
He holds an axe, a noose, a lotus and a modak in his four hands. Note that there
are also present the sacred mounts of Lord Shiva (Nandi the Bull), Lord
Kartikeya (Peacock) and Lord Ganesha (Mooshak) near their masters, ready to
Tanjore painting is a traditional form of art in the South Indian
style and was started by the inhabitants of a small town known as
Thanjavur of Tamil Nadu. This gives it another name called
“Thanjavur painting”. This painting draws its figures, designs,
and inspiration from the time when Vedic culture was prevalent in
India. Certain remarkable features of a Tanjore painting
distinguish it from other paintings. Some of these are pure gold
or gold foil coating on gesso work, the use of rich and vivid
colors, and the inlay of cut-glass or semi-precious and precious
stones. The subjects of most of the Tanjore paintings are Hindu
Gods, Goddesses, and saints. The main devotional figure is
portrayed in the central portion of the painting and is usually
surrounded by various secondary figures.
The classic Tanjore paintings are done on wooden planks and hence
are also referred to as Palagai Padam in South India (Palagai =
Wooden plank, Padam = Picture). Creating a masterpiece is never an
easy task but the skilled artists of Thanjavur have been following
the tradition of making timeless Tanjore paintings for decades.
The making process begins with preparing the wooden board or
canvas. The size of the board depends upon the choice of the
patron. The next step is to paste cardboard over the wooden board
and then a cotton fabric is stretched and pasted upon it using
Now that the cloth is attached to the wooden panel, a rough sketch
of the motifs and figure is drawn onto the fabric. After this, a
paste of chalk powder and water-soluble adhesive is evenly applied
over the base and smoothed.
Thereafter, the outlines which were made or traced using a stencil
are now ready to be beautified and decked with various add-ons.
The usual materials for decoration are cut-glass, pearls,
semi-precious and precious gems, gold leaf, and laces. 22 or 18
Karat Gold leaves and gems of varied hues are especially inlaid in
areas like pillars, arches, walls, thrones, and dresses.
In the final step, the rest of the painting is filled with rich
and striking colors such as shades of red, blue, and green.
Formerly, the artists used natural colors like vegetable and
mineral dyes instead of chemical paints. The entire painting is
then cleaned and refined to give a flawless finished look.
Since the making of a single piece of Tanjore painting requires a
complex and elaborate process, the artists usually take at least
one or two months to complete it. The use of pure gold foil and
gems for beautification is a characteristic of an authentic
Tanjore painting. Due to this, Tanjore paintings last for
generations without getting tarnished and are much more expensive
than general paintings. Though the art form has undergone various
changes and technique modifications over the years, it continues
to attract the hearts of art lovers.
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