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Monthly Archives: August 2016

  • Art of Carving

    Sculpting is possibly one of the oldest techniques of creating artifacts. Throughout human history sculptures have been created using several methods; wood carving being the most prominent among them. Although the metal carving scores high on the scale for longevity but wood carving has been practiced since prehistoric times. Ancient civilizations of Egypt and Indus Valley made extensive use of wood carving. European settlements in the middle ages have produced scintillating pieces of art carved on wood. Advent of Christianity during early centuries of Common Era experienced a little growth but wood carving culture reached its pinnacle in 12th century AD. It flourished in the entire continental Europe and Eurasian lands defining the cultures of the regions.

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    Wood carving which had initially been a source of experiment was a well-developed art by the time Italian Renaissance started. The carved wood pieces by now had broken religious barriers and entered personal households as furniture, decorative items etc. Indian subcontinent and the corresponding culture have always valued wood carving. The presence of innumerable wood carved pieces in the temples and historic sites is the perfect proof that this part of the world has contributed equally to the evolution of wood carving. Another major factor which has influenced the emergence of wood carving is the geographical availability of appropriate wood to be carved.

    Let’s talk a bit about the types of wood which are widely used for carving. Wood used is primarily of two kinds; softwood and hardwood. Both the kinds have distinct properties which are advantageous and disadvantageous for carving. Varied kinds of flora across the planet have been the primary cause behind a wide variety of wood carved artifacts.

    Softwood

    • Cottonwood
    • Butternut
    • Basswood
    • Sycamore Maple
    • Plum

    Hardwood

    • Mahogany
    • American Walnut
    • Rosewood
    • Teak
    • Pine

    The southern part of India is known for exquisite wood carving culture and the artisans here carve various religious and cultural figures on the wood. Rainforests in the region provide abundant supply of wood to be carved upon. Poompuhar an ancient port town is famous for its rich cultural heritage primarily surrounding wood carved sculptures. A spellbinding collection of such artifacts can be found on http://tnpoompuhar.org/tamil-nadu/wood-carvings.html.

  • Poompuhar’s Peacock-form Based Gift Artifacts with the Divine Beauty of Peacocks

    The term peacock is actually meant for denoting the male peafowl. The female peafowl is known as a peahen, and the immature off-springs of peafowl are called peachicks.

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    Peacock’s long tail is known as a train. It consists not of tail quill feathers, but it has only highly elongated upper tail coverts. These feathers are marked with eye spots, best seen when a peacock fans his tail. Both peacocks and peahens have a crest atop the head. The Indian peahen has a mixture of dull grey, brown, and green in her plumage. The female also displays her plumage to ward off female competition or signal danger to her young ones.

    The vibrant iridescent plumage colours of peacocks are not primarily pigments, but they are structural colourations. Optical interference reflections on nanostructures of the fiber-like components of the feathers produce a variety of feather colours.

    It is said that a peacock's long tail, loud call, and fearless behaviour are have been formed by natural selection to create a powerful display to intimidate its predators and rivals.

    In Hindu culture, the peacock is the vehicle of the Lord Muruga. A demon king, Surapadman, was split into two by Muruga and he converted the two parts as an integral part of himself, one becoming a peacock (his vehicle) and another rooster adorning his flag.

    It is said that the peacock displays the divine shape of Omkara when it spreads its magnificent plumes into a full-blown circular form. Peacock’s beautiful feather adorn the crest of Lord Krishna, an avatar of Lord Vishnu, one of the Trimurtis.

    In the 1486 painting Annunciation with St. Emidius by Carlo Crivelli, a peacock is sitting on the roof above the praying Virgin Mary Ancient Greeks believed that the flesh of peafowl did not decay after death, so it became a symbol of immortality.

    Though the peafowl is native to India, in Babylonia and Persia the peacock is seen as a guardian to royalty and is often seen in engravings upon the thrones of royalty.

    The first great dynasty unifying the Indian sub-continent in the 3rd century BC was known as the Maurya. It means, ‘of the peacock’. The word Maurya is derived from Sanskrit Mayura, which means peacock.

    If you wish to decorate your homes, you have a wide choice of portraits or models of the peacock to decorate your houses.  If you visit Poompuhar, a brand that sells various artifacts made by The Tamil Nadu Handicraft Development, you can purchase your favorite peacock- based artifacts from hundreds of handcrafted decorative items in much more peacock designs. There are even some sculptures of peacock handcrafted by Poompuhar’s expert artists.

    One of the available eyes catching decorative pieces of art with peacock theme is Subramanian Stone which is an astonishing statue of Subramaniya accompanied by a peacock and a spear - his distinctive trademarks.

    Thanjavur Art Plates, with various sizes and peacock designs, are also available at Poompuhar stores. Two models of these plates are designed with the peacock theme. These are created using high-quality raw materials. They are created artistically using ultra modern technologies.

    Another Thanjavur Painting is the Key Holder Peacock. This is a glass painting of a beautiful peacock.  It adorns the wall  and it serves the purpose of hanging keys as well. A Handcrafted Silk Wall Hanging is also available with a pair of peacocks sitting beautifully on a tree branch. This exhibits the beautiful hand woven textiles, but also showcases ethnic designs for its admirers.

    A Rose Wood Panel Peacock at a modest price makes a wonderful decorative item depicting a pair of peacocks standing gracefully facing each other in a serene background. Another masterpiece by the artisans of Poompuhar is a Wood Peacock Stone Work which has a brown polished wooden frame with beautiful peacock inlay stone work consisting of semi-precious stones and pearls.

    A Meenakari Key Stand Peacock is also available at a cost of fewer than two hundred rupees. It has a beautiful peacock in the centre and hooks for hanging keys made with Meenakari in the shape of Swastika.

    These peacock form based artifacts from Poompuhar’s expert artisans are attracting the hearts of many art lovers.  They are also used as astonishing gift items.

  • An enchanting world: The crafts of India

    A nation with a rich history and a proud heritage, India is immensely popular for its crafts that are as diverse as the country itself. From historical ages to the trendy times of today, Indian crafts never fail to charm the world with their beauty and wonder. Rural communities of India still hold the cultural tradition of crafts guarded with sincerity.

    Indian Handicrafts Image Credit - Wikipedia

    The history of the Indian crafts industry goes back to about 5000 years from now. The Indus valley civilization is abundant with numerous examples of crafts of ancient times. It is a prestigious fact that India possesses a rich craft tradition characterized by high degree of technical excellence in the fields of weaving, jewellery, pottery and sculpture.

    All the states of India have their own identity in the world of crafts, each of which is unique and exclusive in its own right. Rajasthan, a state of north India with a royal heritage is home to a set of crafts like painting, puppetry, fabric coloration etc. These crafts were practiced and persevered through centuries by the royal Rajput families. Though puppetry has given way to modern entertainment like TV and movies, other crafts of Rajasthan like tie-dyeing is perceived as the roots of international fashion aesthetics. Even now, the interiors of Rajasthani homes are painted with floral motifs and the passion for decorative patterns run all over the state, which is easily the iconic identity of the nation’s crafts industry.

    The state of Gujrat is famous for its textile production methods which includes weaving, dyeing and printing. Bandhani is a unique Gujrati craft, wherein which the fabric is tied at some parts before dyeing resulting in interesting patterns on the cloth.

    Assam is renowned worldwide for its production of silk fabrics. The women of Assam are entrusted with the responsibility of creating silk fabrics. In Gandhi’s words, Assam women are born weavers they are capable of weaving even fairy tales out of their looms!

    Like north India, the southern states of India also present an interesting array of crafts. Karnataka is a state, which has international repute for its wood and stone works. The forests of this region supply wood, mostly rose wood to the wood workers of the state. And carving divine statues for temples is the major source of income for the people of Karnataka.

    Though the tides of time have turned dramatically in recent years, Indian crafts still present an adorable charisma to the international audience. Fashion and styles keep changing from time to time, but the value and the magic of Indian crafts still rule hearts.

  • Famous Painters of India

    India’s children have proved to be great ambassadors of its rich culture and heritage. Of the many great things that Indians are, there have been very famous painters who have mesmerized the world with their creativity and artistic talent. Creations of these famous painters have not only able to generate astronomical priced but also are the finest examples of human talent and capability.

    Famous painters of india (2)Raja Ravi Varma: Born in present day Kerala, Raja Ravi Verma was famous for his depictions of Hindu deities and episodes from the epics and Puranas, his work has received profound acceptance from the public and are found, often as objects of worship, across the length and breadth of India. Raja’s works are held to be among the best examples of the fusion of European techniques with a purely Indian sensibility. While continuing the tradition and aesthetics of Indian art, his paintings employed the latest European academic art techniques of the day. He also made affordable lithographs of his paintings available to the public, which greatly enhanced his reach and influence as a painter and public figure.

    M.F.Husain: MaqboolFida Husain, one of the most famous and flamboyant painters of India. He was known for his narrative paintings, executed in a modified Cubist style, which were caustic and funny as well as serious and sombre. His themes—sometimes treated in series—include topics as diverse as Mohandas K. Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, the British raj, and motifs of Indian urban and rural life.  He was also the founding member of The Progressive Artists Group of Bombay (PAG).

    Anjolie Ela Menon: She is India's leading contemporary artists. Her paintings are in several major collections. She prefers oil on masonite, as her medium of painting though she has also worked in other media, including glass and water colour. Excelling as a muralist, she was awarded the honorary Padma Shree Award in 2000.

    Nandalal Bose: One of the pioneers of modern Indan art and a key figure of Contextual Modernism, was also the pupil of the famous Abanindranath Tagore. Bose was known for his "Indian style" of painting. He later went on to became the principal of the famous Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan in 1922. He was influenced by the Tagore family and the murals of Ajanta; his classic works include paintings of scenes from Indian mythologies, women, and village life.Today, many critics consider his paintings among India's most important modern paintings.

    Vasudeo S. Gaitonde: An alumni of the famous Sir J.J. School of Art, V.S. Gaitonde as he was more popularly known was one of the most famous faces of contemporary art. With a applaud worthy imagination, he was able to impress even his greatest of critics. In 2013, one of Gaitonde's untitled painting sold for ₹237 million (US$3.5 million), set a record for an Indian artist at Christie's debut auction in India.

  • Arts and Crafts from Kerala

    India being one of the oldest civilizations is an ethnically and culturally diverse land. This aged diversity is the backbone of Indian crafts which are appreciated all across the planet. All the states within the Indian Republic boast their array of unique crafts signifying the culture of the region. The state of Kerala is one such land which produces pieces or art and craft which are unparalleled when it comes to design and sheer sense of exotic creativity. Although the list of crafts from Kerala is a never ending one but let’s talk about a few prominent ones among them.

    Coconut Shell Handicrafts

    Since ancient history the indigenous people of this Dravidian region have been extensively involved in making crafts out of coconut shell. Thanks to a long coastline and the food habits; there has never been dearth of coconuts to consume and use the shells to experiment with creativity. The best thing is the craftsmen of Kerala have been able to bridge the gap between history and future. They have been producing artifacts which add a sense of antiquity to the growing demands of crafts in a modern world. Things like lamps, vases, boxes, cups, spoons and many household items are created out of coconut shells.

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    Aranmula Mirror

    A mirror might not actually sound to be a unique artifact but this product which comes out of small village called Aranmula is definitely pride of Kerala. These mirrors are one of the most sought after crafts in the world. These internationally recognized mirrors are made out of metal alloys and nobody exactly knows the metal compositions. Interestingly for centuries the family which produces Aranmula Mirrors has successfully kept the secret to themselves.

    aranmula-mirror-from-kerala Image Credit - aranmulakannadi.com

    Metal and Wood

    Deep metallurgical understanding and abundance of wood have helped the craftsmanship in Kerala to evolve. Years of design innovation and experimentation are the supporting pillars for crafts which combine the use of metals and wood. Whitewood, rosewood and brass are the most widely used materials to make crafts like candle stands, key chains and Kathakali heads.

    Carving

    Wood Carvings is another very popular way of making handicrafts across the country and the people of Kerala have certainly attained mastery over it. Like other items carved rosewood, whitewood and timber products are being used and distributed throughout the world. Notable examples are decorative items like candle stands, artifacts, animal figures, boxes and many more.

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    Paintings

    Paintings are definitely one of the strongest candidates for a crafts race aren’t they? Exclusivity which tags along with painted crafts from Kerala is that the religious figures, natural beauty, flora and fauna are depicted using paints on bamboo mats. Such impeccable craft pieces surely can’t be obtained from any other part of the country.

    The aforementioned items are just the tip of the iceberg. This southern coastal land of the Indian subcontinent offers a wider range of art and craft which are exclusive to the people and the culture of the region.

  • Best Independence Day Gifts – by Poompuhar

    15th August – The day when India broke its chain of colonization and became the ruler of her own destiny. It is a day to celebrate the glories of our country, to celebrate its rich heritage and to bask in the glory of free pride. With Independence Day around the corner, Poompuhar brings to all proud fellow citizens authentic native products that are ideal to be presented as gift items.

    Independence day gift ideas india Independence day gifts for Celebration
    • White Wood Ashoka Pillar With National Flag: What better way to celebrate India’s independence than to gift your loved ones items that are inspired from the national symbols of the country. One of the most ideal Independence Day gifts, Poompuhar brings to you the Ashokan pillar made of the finest white wood. The handmade wooden Ashoka pillar is carved out in a single piece of top quality white wood. The pillar is crowned with the ever vigilant four lions and also comes along with the National Flag. Priced at Rs.640 and with dimensions of 5x7x2,this is a gift worth having.
    • Papier Mache Mahatma Gandhi: The icon of nationalism, independence and non-violence – Gandhiji. Standing 20x7x6 inches tall, the Father of the Nation has been represented in the finest quality of papier mache.Available at Rs.1,050, this item is a perfect gift to foreigners wishing to take back a precious souvenir from India, which their friends/relatives back home would able to relate too!
    • Black Metal Soldier: A tribute to the innumerable soldiers that fought with velour and galore for the cause of their motherland. Poompuhar presents richly crafted 30x10 inches tall black metal soldier. A statuette that is ideal to be gifted on the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day. At a price of 1,710 this is all for grabs.
    • Bronze A/F Sitting Women: A perfect decorative item, this bronze statue of a sitting women is ideal to decorate that side table or even your large office desk. The antique finish adds the beauty of ‘time’ to it making it even more desirable. With dimension of 8x7 inches and priced at Rs 19,890 this is definitely a must have.
    • Wooden Horse: The horse depicts pride, vigor and agility. This wooden piece of marvel perfectly fits your showcase at home, or your table at office. This brilliant little masterpiece makes an excellent gift item for the upcoming Independence Day and also helps improve the livelihood of our skilled yet poor artisans. Standing at 9x7x2 inches tall and at Rs 1,040 only.

    These are one of our top rated products that are available at our website (www.tnpoompuhar.org). You can access several finest native products of India in our website at reasonable prices and timely delivery.

  • How To Decorate Your Pooja Room as per Vaastu

    In India, a pooja room is constructed as a sacred room in every home. It is a special place to worship and offer prayers to Gods and Goddesses.

    how-to-decorate-pooja-roomPraying various Gods and Goddesses is a kind of contemplation of an individual human. It is considered that offering prayers improves our mental and spiritual strength: it is assesses as an essential activity for good mental health and an amazing spiritual contentment.

    All Hindu houses have a pooja room with various idols of Gods and Goddesses.

    How To Decorate A Pooja Room ?

    First, let us discuss how to place deities in the pooja rooms. It is very important to have a pooja room in your home which follows the norms of Vaastu, which is an  important thing to be born in mind while decorating your pooja rooms.

    Decide well about the location of your pooja room in your home.  It is usually built in the north east corner of your house. Also consider this point:  The pooja room should face either east to west or west to east.

    It is better to make your pooja room with wood material. It may be sandalwood or teak wood, with a conical shaped top. Also consider the color of the wood: it should be kept in natural wooden colors.

    Place your religious books in either south or west. Also ensure this: Your pooja room should not lie below, above or next to your bathroom. Usually, bathrooms emit negative energies.

    You should not place your pooja room under the stairs or inside the bedroom, especially inside the master bedroom. Your pooja room will be total only after you place the  idols and deities in the right direction.

    See below some important tips that would help you to place the deities inside your pooja room.

    Rules to Keep Idols in Your Pooja Room

    There are some idols of Gods that need to be placed in the east of the house facing west to increase their positivity in the house.

    Some examples of these gods are : Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, Kartikeya, Indra, Surya.

    Where to Place Ganesha Idol at Home?

    The god’s idol that need to face north to south direction are: Ganesh, Durga, Shodas, Matrika, Kuber, Bhairav. It is also important to keep the idol or photo of Lord Hanuman facing South East. This will have a tendency to combine with agni which is located in the South East as it is the Agni’s direction which is not a good sign. Shiva is usually prayed in the form of a linga in Indian houses and it is advised to place the idol in the north direction.

    In general, the best direction to place all your  idols is the North East direction and it is really an auspicious direction to locate all the idols, gods and deities in compliance with various religious standards and procedures.

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