Tanjore painting is one of the most popular and refined classical paintings from South India. Above all, it originated under the rule of Marathas in the 16th century. For instance, the painting is native to Thanjavur or Tanjore, a city in Tamil Nadu.
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The concentrated composition, the use of gold foil and semi-precious stones is very distinctive. A typical Tanjore painting is principally inspired by religion and centers around Hindu gods and goddesses.
An introductory sketch of the image is drawn on a cloth and is one of the first steps in the making of a Tanjore Painting. For example, the cloth is pasted over a wooden base. Later, chalk powder or zinc oxide is mingled with water-soluble adhesive and applied on the base. In the next few steps, the drawing is embellished with gold foil, glass pieces and precious or semi-precious stones.
For instance, it is a common practice to apply wafer thin sheets of gold on some parts of the painting, while giving a bright touch to other parts of the painting. Artists predominantly use dark brown for outlines. Red is used for background as a distinctive mark of Tanjore paintings. However, as a traditional practice, the blue colour is employed for Lord Vishnu and white for Lord Natarajan.