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Monthly Archives: October 2014

  • Chola Bronze Art - A Legacy Transcending Centuries

    Emperors that have reigned India have left their presence in the form of temples, mosques, forts and antique pieces of art. Time again we are reminded of their history when we look at a sculpture that reflects the make of the era long gone by. The Chola Empire constantly worked on doctoring the form of art and architecture left to them by the Dravidians.

     

    The period of the Cholas burgeoned in the arena of bronze art. The South Indian craft is greatly influenced by bronzes. Sculptures of Natraja, Lord Krishna, Radha and many other gods and goddesses are carved in this sturdy alloy. Museums all over the world proudly display this primarily Hindu iconography that is potent enough to grasp attention for a couple of seconds.

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    Chola bronze statue of Nataraja at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City [Image Credit - Wikipedia.org]

    Bronze art is arrived at using the ‘lost-wax’ process, termed as cire perdue in French. The process involves uncompromising and constant hard work that is divided into sub-processes. A model is initially created out of wax, or an oil based clay that is easily mouldable and retains its malleability. Wax stems are inserted into some areas of strategic importance and then the entire model baked in order to melt off the wax. Before baking, the model is enveloped in clay, and this results in leaving a hollow model casted in clay. Molten bronze is now poured into the cavity and allowed to cool down. Once the bronze cools down and assumes its sturdiness, the clay is broken off. The areas where the wax stems were earlier placed are by now taken by the cooled down molten bronze and are therefore filed off.

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    Liquid bronze at 1200 °C is poured into the dried and empty casting mould  [Image Credits -Wikipedia.org]

    These statues as already stated depict gods and goddesses exhibiting some timeless saga that has been transferred through generations on a stretch. Religious notions and beliefs in India keep up with the contemporary times. By the 10th century A.D. the followers of Hinduism realised that the deities should be included in the religious processions and should thus be of a size that is easily movable from a place to the other. They were generally mounted on to poles or rods which would bear the weight of the idol and at the same time provide it mobility. Thus, the origin of inclusion of these images in processions and festivals started taking place. With the advent of time, the size started to decrease and they became a household image that adorned almost every Indian home.

    The mould that is used to fill in the molten wax is broken off every time, and there is thus no chance of duplication. Each of the sculpture is unique in its own way, and the symmetry that is exhibited is again the outcome of tedious work brimming up with measurements based on the old Indian Manuscripts. Poompuhar values this endless work that goes into making each piece of bronze art and the importance of the viability of this art. We have therefore worked to promote this style of art at various levels for over 40 years, and helped this age old art which bloomed during the 10th Century Chola empire prosper in our modern world. We host exhibitions and workshops time and again to bring recognition and appreciation to this divine art.

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    Bronze Statue of Lord Ganesh sclupted by Poompuhar Artisans at the Swamimalai unit (Thanjavur Dist.) of THDC Ltd., using the Chola Bronze Technique

  • Add a zest of Tamilnadu to your lives!

    Mangalore- the chief port city of Karnataka is a host to the 4th in a row Handicrafts Expo that is organised by the ‘Poompuhar’ Tamilnadu Handicrafts Development Corporation annually. Inaugurated by Shri Mahabala Maarla, the Mayor of the coastal city, on October 24, 2014; the exhibition is an array of beautiful artefacts that have the magnetic power of attraction. A look at these magnificent pieces of art and one is head over your heels to have them.

    The selection on display includes the intricately patterned saris, devout idols, perfectly etched out lamps and yet many other items of display and sale prepared by 20 odd artisans who hail from different states of India. Mayor Maarla was ensorcelled with the exquisiteness of the craftsmanship. He requested the fellow Mangaloreans to drop by the exhibition and enjoy the richness of the Tamilian ethnology, while addressing the press gathered.

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    The Panchaloha Vishnu Idol [Image Credits: mangaloretoday.com]

    There are quite a few exotic articles that verbalise their making as soon as one casts his sight on them The Panchloha idols are the product of fusing and moulding 5 different metals. The idols of Dakshinamurthy, Ardhanarishwara, Rajarajeshwari, Ganesha and Nataraja are on display at the sale. Anwar, a Poompuhar salesman explains to onlookers that the vegetable print saris are not only beautiful to adorn but also have a medicinal value. They help in maintaining an optimal body temperature by absorbing excess heat radiated by the body. These saris also control the sugar levels in the body of the person who wears them. These sarees are woven by indigenous artisans and have aesthetically pleasing designer prints made of naturally occuring dyes.

    S. Manikandan, Manager at Poompuhar, said that the exhibition has items to please every soul. According to him the last exhibition did wonders in terms of sales and this year he expects an even better turnover.

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    A stall at the Poompuhar Handicrafts Expo, Mangalore [Image Credits: daijiworld.com]

    Poompuhar, a Government of Tamilnadu Undertaking, was established in 1973 and has since worked endlessly to empower the artisans of India, both in terms of vocational training and getting a livelihood coupled with recognition. Visit the Handicrafts Expo at Woodlands Hotel, Mangalore that extends up to November 3rd, 2014. Add a zest of Tamilnadu to your lives!

  • 'Crafts of Tamil Nadu' Exhibition, New Delhi

    Crafts of Tamil Nadu”-The Poompuhar Exhibition of Art and Craft was inaugurated by Shri. Samir Kumar Biswas I.A.S., Development Commissioner (Handicrafts), New Delhi, in the presence of Dr. Santhosh Babu I.A.S.,  Chairman & Managing Director of Poompuhar, Chennai on October 17th, 2014  at Shilpi Haat, Connaught Place, New Delhi. This exhibition is in every manner a depiction of the age-old culture, tradition and artistry of Tamil Nadu. It makes South meet North for benefits that are mutual and give India the holistic view it actually encompasses. It also acts as a focal point that enables the North Indians to appreciate and better understand the values and beliefs of their Southern counterparts.

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    Chief Guest, Shri Samir Kumar Biswas cuts the ribbon during the inauguration ceremony.

    Poompuhar, the well acknowledged brand name of The Tamilnadu Handicrafts Development Corporation (THDC) has been serving the native arts and craftsmen of the Tamil Nadu since its inception in July 1973. It has held various exhibitions at various times to attract herds of people to indigenous and extraordinary handmade pieces.

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    Chief Guest, Shri Samir Kumar Biswas and THDC Chairman and MD, Dr. Santhosh Babu look on as the artisan displays his prowess.

    The THDC artisans are present at the fair and are demonstrating their skills live which has added to the fervour of the 2014 exhibition. Meeting these skilled individuals in person and seeing them carve inimitable pieces of art out of ordinary materials is indeed a delighting experience.  The Crafts of Tamil Nadu extends from the 17th of October to 31st of October 2014. The items on display range from the beautifully moulded Bronze Icons and Brass Lamps to the elusive Thanjavur Artplates, Thanjavur Paintings and Madubani Paintings, and some beautiful Wood Carvings and other Home Decorative Items. Poompuhar serves to bring acknowledgement to the effort that goes into creating masterpieces and we thus celebrate the efforts of our artisans giving them an opportunity to demonstrate their talent and mastery, so that the world would recognise the faces that laboured day and night to decorate the lives of thousands of unknown faces.

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    An artisan demonstrating his work of art- LIVE! at Shilpi Haat, Connaught Place, New Delhi.

  • South India: The Times Gone By...

    India is a country marked by diversities, and what’s remarkable is the unity that exists amidst this multiple ethnicity. South India is a large chunk of the country and is home to people of varying cultures and spoken languages. The history of each of its regions speaks volumes and is well preserved in various forms of art. These art forms include folklores, music, dance-forms, art and craft, etc.

    This expanse of the Indian sub-continent still harbours the remains of the ancient times, when the Cholas, Pandyas, Pallavas and Cheras were the rulers of this soil. This dates back to as early as 10th Century A.D. , when Tamil Nadu under the reign of the Cholas was renowned for its beautifully carved temples and unparalleled literature. The Brihadeeswarar Temple at Thanjavur is an example of the architectural marvels of this bygone age. Economic activity too was at its peak, each one these virtues is still alive in this state and its inhabitants. The peninsular Deccan Plateau had no look backs even in the Medieval and Modern periods of Indian history. The legacy of being economically strong and traditionally rich continued to pave its way. The Medieval period saw some great structures like the Stone Chariot, Virupaksha Temple.

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    Detail of the main vimanam of the Thanjavur Temple. Image credits: Venu62 - Wikipedia

    The city of Mysore narrates tales about the kings that ruled and has its own unmatched aura to boast. The Arabian Sea makes this peninsula the focal point for tourists. Every year tens of thousands of tourists throng the land and get swayed by the mesmerising scenic beauty. The beaches and the backwaters are a spectacle for every eye. These captivating views coupled with the bronzes sculptures, the stone carvings, the engraved plates, clay idols and other forms of art and craft protected in the temples and monuments make South India is a locale that has carved the moments gone by on the sands of time.

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    Shiva as Nataraja, the most famous subject found in Chola processional bronzes. Image Credits: LACMA - Wikipedia

  • Deepawali Celebrations Come to Life with Poompuhar’s 'Festival of Lights' sale

    There is no greater joy than seeing the seeds of hard work bear fruit. It is with this thought and concept that we have organized the special exhibition called ‘Festival of Lights’ on textiles and jewelry in the very heart of Tamil Nadu. Besides standing as a mark of Deepawali celebrations, the exhibition-cum-sale is an effort to give traditional artisans and craftsmen a platform to showcase their talent and provide them an access to better social security. Deepawali in India is a nation-wide phenomenon. The fervor that surrounds this festival is contagious; people go beyond the boundaries of caste, creed and religion to celebrate the victory of good over evil. This exhibition is our initiative to add a little more joy to people’s lives. The exhibition-cum-sale is open till 21st October, 2014 from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm every day at the Anna Salai showroom in Chennai.

    The highlight of the exhibition is the admirable range of lamps and dress materials, keeping in view the special demand for these during the Deepawali season. These are discounted at 20% and 10% respectively. One can get ornate brass lamps in various designs and sizes from a collection that includes Malabar lamps, Iyappan lamps and parrot hanging lamps among others.

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    The clothing section consists of dresses from all over India- Ghaghracholis and churidars from Rajasthan, hand-printed suits with detailed needle work from Kashmir, men’s khadi shirts from Meerut, besides a lavish collection of various kinds of sarees from all over India. Hand printed and lightweight sarees are a special attraction. One of the collections of low-weight silk sari from Punjab weighs as less as 140 gm, including a zari of 40 gm.

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    Clothing and jewelry go together during festivities, and the jewelry section has a lot of unique designs to enhance the enthusiasm of Deepawali shopping. The jewelry includes attractive imitation jewelry, gold-plated necklaces from Jaipur, pearl sets and coral sets besides others.

    The exhibition is open every day from 10 am to 8 pm till 21st October, 2014 at No.818, Anna Salai, Chennai.
    For more information about the products and exhibition, call 044-28520624 or 044-28585721.

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