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Kerala murals

Saturday, June 20th, 2009 | Author:

Our God’s very own country has a rich tradition of murals and they are quite well known in the art industry through the history. Kerala has a rich and varied tradition of art and painting and much to the evidence of this are the murals in temples, churches and palaces in Kerala which the tourists and the art enthusiasts visit.

The murals of Tirunandikkara and Tiruvanchikulam are marked as the earliest specimens of Kerala painting. These have been assigned to the period from the 9th to the 12th century A.D. All most all the murals that are now seen in Kerala temples belong to the period from 15th century onwards. It is said that the tradition of painting on walls began in Kerala when the pre-historic rock paintings were found in the Anjanad valley of Idukki district. Rock engravings dating to the Mesolithic period have also been discovered in two regions of Kerala namely Edakkal in Wayanad and at Perumkadavila in Tiruvananthapuram district.

Art was highly regarded during the Dravidian period in the district and hence it is no difficult to trace the root of the Kerala mural style of paintings on the walls. These can be traced to the more ancient Dravidian art of Kalamezhuthu. Art was almost considered sacred and was connected to the religious rituals as portrayed in so many murals. People would sketch, border and then fill colours with the powder that was available to them.The oldest murals in Kerala were discovered in the rock-cut cave temple which is now in the Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu.

Dhokra art

Sunday, June 14th, 2009 | Author:

Dhokra is a metal casting art that has been used in India for more than 4000 years now. Ne o the earliest work of Dhokra art was found in Mohenjodaro. This wax artifact was a dancing girl. Dhokra art is known for its simplicity and enchanting folkness in it. The rural motifs that are used in this art evokes a very earthy feeling in all of us. Dhokra artisans and their artwork are thus in great demand in Indian as well as in international markets.


Dhokra art consists of animals like cows, horses, elephants, peacocks, owls, religious images of various Gods and Goddesses, measuring utensils, glasses and bowls, and lamp caskets etc. All these art products are highly appreciated and praised.


There are two main processes of lost wax casting: solid casting, and hollow casting. Solid casting is predominant in the south of India while hollow casting is more common in Central and Eastern India. Hollow casting is the more traditional method and uses the clay core whereas solid casting uses a solid piece of wax to create the mould.


Most artisans of the Dhokra art belong to the Dhokra Damar tribes that are the traditional metal smiths of West Bengal. Thus the name of this art and their technique of lost wax casting is named after their tribe – Dhokra metal casting. This tribe extends from Bihar to West Bengal and even to Orissa. Some of the artisans of Madhya Pradesh also specialize in the Dhokra art. Some of the artisans a few hundred years ago traveled to south as far as Kerla and north as far as Rajasthan and hence are now found all over India.


Genuine art or Fake art

Saturday, June 13th, 2009 | Author:

Being an amateur, one often wonders or is apprehensive about the genuineness of a painting. Am I buying a genuine painting or is it a copy or a reproduction or a forgery? These are the questions that linger on. Finally it boils down to this: What am I owning- an original or a fake?


Basically, there are two factors that enhance the quality of the painting: the aesthetic quality and the name of the artist. Because there is tremendous amount of money involved in art work, art pieces call for serious authentication. This leaves us with a pertinent question – How do I test the authenticity of a painting? Well, there are three ways with which one can test the authenticity of the painting: the art collector’s evaluation based on his or her knowledge and the information gathered, the historical documentation that is available, and last but not the least: scientific testing.


The knowledge of the art connoisseur should include when and where the painting made, acquired from, bought from, one was should also know how it was acquired, and then who sold it or inherited it or gifted it. The goal here is to ensure that this indeed is the object which has left the artist’s studio. If this data is not available then one can go for scientific testing.


One should always the seals, the stamps, the canvas as well as the frames as a part of the analysis of the painting. Great art collectors who own thousands of art collections usually put a stamp or a seal on every piece of theirs.

Mysore paintings

Thursday, May 07th, 2009 | Author:

South of India is famous for its temple architecture and grand display of colors that depict the various mythological tales. The gopuras or the towers of the temple are a striking feature. Apart from wood and exotic fragrant wood sculpture the state of Karnataka was the chief pioneer in paintings. The paintings were patronized by the Kings who loved art and had a passion for constructing palatial dwellings.


Social set ups had major murals depicting the culture of the South which was encouraged by the existing rulers. Rich traders and royals had a penchant for the paint work which was beautifully brought out by the craftsmen. The medium of paintings was also in gold and vegetable colors or extracts of leaves where used as a medium. Cloth paintings were also a major display. This was the true and original form of art which was later modernized with durable boards and dependable sticking formulas.


Gold foil painting was a rich form of art where the painting was done on the 24 Karat gold foil after it was treated. The typicality of the paintings from Mysore is about a a definite and prominent look. The colors are green, red and blue which is again common in all parts of South India. The main idea about Mysore paintings was the gesso concept which highlighted certain areas of the painting. This included areas where the jewelry or certain metal work related to the idols needed attention.


Finishing lines were done in the last stage where the lines or features of the painting were highlighted. The palace at Mysore bears a lot of testimony to the great work put in by the painters of the yesteryears. The galleries also have several collections of paintings which still require a lot of encouragement to be continued as an art form. The Wodeyars were lovers of art and the impetus received by them was great. Though the art form has gained recognition, there is still a lot of reviving to be done by offering support to the artists.

Tribal jewlery

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 | Author:

Tribal art of India is authentic in its nature. The minimal presence of necessities in the tribal areas had actually made the inhabitants sufficient in their needs. Common use of available items like twigs, barks, shells, horns, wood pieces, stones were effectively used as adornments for daily wear. It is interesting to note that the tribal jewelry is a great piece of art and has much patronage from urban Indians and tourists abroad.


Also a common form of hobby, tribals used simple tricks of knotting with thread or barks to secure the beads in a necklace. The style is certainly not rigid and many times does not form a pattern. Raw aesthetic representation is the chief theme in many variations of tribal jewelry like a neck piece, earrings, nose piercing, finger rings, anklets, amulets and many other jewelry items.


The colors are magical like turquoise, jade green and also can be found in dull shades like tree brown or dull yellow in beads and designs. The stone jewelry again is a raw style which sets the stone by entwining the thread as a casing. The styles are inimitable in terms of their originality. There are also variations depending on the geography and many forms of tribal Jewelry are used in rural lifestyle.


Coloring a stone with natural dyes is an important aspect. The tribal costume is also a great effort with belly scarves, jackets and skirts that have a lot of trinkets around them. The waist band is a normal form of jewelry worn by tribal folk. This is a woven piece of cloth and intricate designing trinketsis employed with beads, metal works and mirrors.


Metal bracelets and wooden earrings placed in simple stone works seem magnificent in tribal art. Owing to deforestation and modern amenities reaching the inaccessible areas this art is slowly declining. Urban factories are also using the same art form and modernizing the art with the help of machines.

Mughal painting

Saturday, April 11th, 2009 | Author:

The rise and fall of Mughal painting is an interesting story. The painting is a form of miniature painting that includes portraits and can also be seen in the form of pictures in select books. Humayun was a great lover of art and during his reign he noticed the special art form in Persian paintings. With his encouragement Persian art form came to India, was influenced also by other cultures in India and grew to be typically known as Mughal painting.


The following successors of Mughal empire like Akbar and Shahjahan greatly patronized the art form. Akbar The great extended his secular thoughts also to Mughal painting. During his time the mughal painting included stories from Indian epics. Court scenes, palkhi processions and the majestic portraits of rulers were the chief motifs.  Jahangir highly believed in this art form and also added many illusionary skills to the same. The painting was modified with finer brush strokes and wide colors that the contemporary styles during earlier times.


It also became a penchant of many English rulers who loved this form of painting and the Mughal kings sent gifts in the form of their portraits or life sketch on canvas. Truly in the ethnic style, the painting also started gaining momentum with bold depictions and illusionary effects. The main theme of the painting exists in bright colors and a royal flair to its creations. It has a highly artistic tone in vibrant royalty.


Compilation of Mughal painting during the 19th century was seen as an album that was contributed by the team work of many painters. The painting works were also embossed to secure the effectiveness. Mughal painting reached its zenith but also declined at a faster speed. Mughal paint works are rare and some museums show case the art work of noted painters with great respect.

Types of pottery

Friday, April 10th, 2009 | Author:

Types of pottery


Pottery making in various parts of the world has seen an improvisation. What existed as a simple form of utility item grew to the needs of gifting, royal arte craft and also facilitated commerce. Various trends were seen which was brought in by many craftsmen in different parts of the world. Porcelain pottery is primarily divided into three various forms. This is broadly termed as Bone china, hard paste porcelain and soft paste porcelain.


The Chinese porcelain as compared to the European concept is less vitrified. The hard paste porcelain allows light to pass through the ware and soft paste porcelain has a granular surface. Bone china is famous for its delicate nature and the ivory white color is appealing. The common use is seen in crockery especially as tea sets. Agate or marble surface is mixed with various kinds of pottery to form marbled pottery. This is been found in China and Rome right from 1st century onwards.


Brown and red color is the significant form of earthenware. This is a very famous piece of pottery concept usually retained in the non glazed state as it used to have a great utility benefit in kitchen ware. Cream ware is a type of lead glaze that renders a cream color to the earthenware. An interesting glaze can be seen imitating a cauliflower with a green and yellow color known as Cauliflower ware.


The Jaipur blue pottery is an amazing skill developed by rural artisans which has a patronage world wide. Bowls, kitchen items, decorative items and gifts are some of the forms of blue pottery. More forms of pottery can be classified with the brown tinge akin to the tortoise shell got from oxides which is termed as tortoise shell pottery. There are international interpretations of pottery from Native American pottery making, Chinese skills and authentic art in Indian rural scene.


Urns, huge flower vases, ceramic bowls, kitchen items and decorative pieces are found in branded pottery ware. One can actually witness the change in pottery art which was initially created as a necessity for living and now commercialized under international brands.

What is Art?

Thursday, April 09th, 2009 | Author:

pict_indian_artOnce a man fulfills his basic needs he wants to reach to another level. At one point of time safety and security are the most important needs of any human but once that part is fulfilled, he looks forward to the need of satisfying his aesthetic needs. I doubt, any of you will argue with the immense feeling of satisfaction when surrounded by beautiful works of art. These art works are our gateway to a different world. A world of pure beauty where all the five senses of ours feel satiated and delighted.


Every person has a different perspective about a work of art. Ever visited a museum or exhibition? Look around or better try talking to few onlookers and ask what are their interpretations of the painting and you will be surprised to know views as diverse as chalk and cheese. All the art works have some or other relevance. No artwork is ever without any relevance else it risks the chance of losing its significance. Very few things except, of course, nature connects with our soul as beautifully and intricately as a piece of art does. 


A painting can transpire in three forms of straightforward images, abstract expression and progressive expression. The first one is all about taking the painting at its face value. It means just witnessing the magical combination of images and finding pleasure in that. Whereas second form is, as the name suggests, abstract. That means, one can interpret it as he desires. The last one makes the viewer go into some kind of spiritual quest where he tries to find a new meaning of certain aspect of life or better still asks questions from self. We will try to look into all the three forms in this site that is solely dedicated to world of art.