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Monthly Archives: February 2017

  • The Art of Papier Mache

    Be it a  piece of wood, a village wall, a floor, a palm leaf, a or even the palm of a hand, if it is art it will express its beauty in any dimension. Papier Mache is an ancient art of mixing paper pulp with glue or sometimes flour and water that hardens when dried, to make a variety of wonderful decorative and utility items. Papier Mache is a French word that means chewed or mashed paper.

    History of Papier Mache

    The art of Papier Mache is as old as Paper making. In Egypt, coffins and death masks were made from papers and covered with plaster. The art originated in Persia (Iran) and was brought to India, by Mughal emperors of that time. Impressed by the beauty of the Persian Papier Mache, King Zain-ul-Abidin during 15th century, invited artist from Iran and patronized the art in Kashmir. The art was originally known as Kar-i-Qalamdan and was used to ornate pen stands (qalam means pen) and later extended to decorate a large number of household articles using paper pulp or layers of polished paper and was then known as Kar-i-Munaqqash. Papier Mache art is now widely practiced in many states of India.

    Procedure of Papier Mache
    The process of making Papier Mache is broadly classified into 2 steps. The first one is called 'Sakhtsazi' or making the object and the second one is known as ‘Naqqashi’, which means painting the surface of the object.

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    To make Papier Mache crafts, first waste paper is soaked in water till it gets pulpy. It is then pounded, mixed thoroughly with gum and Multani Mitti (white clay), shaped over moulds, and is then allowed to dry before being painted. Organic colors from vegetables and flowers are used for painting with a special painting brush whose bristles are made out of goat hair. Sometimes plaster of Paris is added for softening and the final product is coated with layers of lacquer. Traditionally, Papier Mache products used to be coated with stretched sheep skin which was apt for applying colors. To enhance the beauty and shine, pure silver or gold dust is sprinkled. The final product is an outstanding piece of art that travels many pairs of talented hands and imaginative minds before reaching the market. Above all skills, the aesthetic sensibility and hereditary skills are very essential for creating Papier Mache products.

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    Patterns and motifs

    The motifs in Papier Mache designs are mostly historical figures, flowers, animals and birds (particularly kingfisher). Traditional patterns include Hazaara or ‘thousand flowers’ and Gulandergul or ‘flower within flower’. Chinar leaf, Persian rose, cherry blossoms and tulips are also quite popular motifs.

    Papier Mache Products

    Apart from being inexpensive and non-toxic, Paper Mache products are light-weight and robust. There is a wide variety of Papier Mache products like wall hangings, jewelry boxes, lamps, masks, paper boats, puppets, dummies, sets, mirror cases, flower vases, utensils like kettles, plates or trays that reflects the artistic zeal and skill of the craftsmen.

  • Art and craft of Puducherry- the little France of India

    Handicraft is probably the best way to showcase the heritage and culture of any place. Handicraft from each state of India carries a subtle distinctive mark of its tradition and culture. The skill and handwork of craftsmen in union territories of India like Puducherry, a tiny fishing village situated on the southeast coast of the country, also bears witness to its distinctive traditional form of art and craft. Puducherry has an exceptional sense of art and craft as the craftsmen here, sow their souls in every product so that each product tells a story – a story of immense hard work, dedication and patience. Also known as Little France of India, the multi ethnic land holds a cosmopolitan culture and reflects a fusion of both Tamil heritage and French influence in its handicrafts.

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    Puducherry Bommai is the traditional handmade doll that is made up of terracotta, papier mache and plaster and is pride to its handicraft industry. The dexterity of the craftsmen is nicely exhibited in specially designed Korai Mats that employs a local grass species found here abundantly. One can make out the determination of craftsmen on carvings and paintings done on coconut shell and palm leaves. Pondicherry Textiles and fabric shops are a shopper’s paradise, as the craftsmen have a special knack in weaving quality cotton and a variety of other fabrics like satin, twill, corduroy, poplin, chambray, oxford cambric and Khadi, that are popular in India as well as abroad. Puducherry is also known for its intricate gold and silver jewelries and traditional style of Bronze casting. The union territory also manufactures wonderful wooden crafts like traditional musical instruments, toys, grinders, vessels and wooden serving spoons. The best of wood carving can be seen on the temple doors. Another handicraft that is unique to Pondicherry is its distinct pottery with glaze finishing. Another product to add to the handicraft list is the Jute craft of Pondicherry that makes use of jute to knead carpets, rugs, foot wear, and handbags.

    Auroville, a town near Puducherry, presents an incredible world of handicrafts that will leave you spoilt for choice. An amazing diversity of crafts thrive here - the signature handmade paper, aromatic candles and incense sticks, real leaves embossed on wooden items, crochet garments, colorful paper lamps and a dizzying range of beauty products that will leave you spellbound. The exquisite leather craft at the Visitor centre includes elegantly designed Leather crafts like passport holders, shoes, bags, writing pad holder and other accessories of daily use. It also presents an eclectic array of traditionally designed hand woven cotton fabrics with block printed motifs. Auroville is popular not only for the astonishing handmade products but also for the marvelous Matri Mandir (a temple founded by The Mother under the vision of Sri Aurobindo). The peace and tranquility that the temple offers makes it a great place for meditation and yoga.

    Puducherry town exhibits impressive French colonial architecture showcasing attractive doors and window frames, ornate pillars and antique furniture. The artisans here are dedicated in creating and preserving traditional as well as contemporary form of art and craft, with key focus on sustainability through innovation.

  • Famous Indian painters who got international credit

    India is a land of arts. This is the country that has given birth to fantastic artists for years, generation after generation. Many claim that all those things were past and historic. However, in present day also, there are different artists in India, who have established themselves in the International world of art. Here are the top five such Indian artists:

    M F Hussain

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    He is a famous painter in India, also known as ‘Indian Picasso’. He is the most celebrated and internationally renowned artists of all times. Renowned in India, this artist gave birth to lots of the exclusive art, some of which has got recognition in the international platform too. his paintings are mostly narrative, with diverse themes. 

    SH Raza

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    Renowned old painter of India, S Raza has made a record to earn 16 crore for a single painting. Some of the top paintingsof his are in the form of Saurastra and La Terre. Most of his paintings were on lightening Indian philosophy in the abstract form in oil or acrylic. His talent was not confined to the country alone. Soon it spread to a broader horizon, making him an internationally famous painter.

    F N Souza

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    The famous painter is recognized by the world for his extraordinary pieces of work. Nearly 400 paintings by him were sold in the world market, among which the famous Birth image is the brightest star. It was sold at 11 crores in International market. The painter created a different generation among all the painters, with his live works. The great painter died in the year of 2002.

    Tyeb Mehta

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    A Padma Bhushan recipient,Tyeb Mehta hailed from the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group, which included F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza and M.F. Husain. Like them, he also embraced the modern and brusque style of painting. Some of the top works of him includethe Diagonal Series and triptych Celebration. The latter one earned him 14 crore INR.

    Ganesh Pyne

    He is another artist of International fame. His works like Assassin or Before the Chariots are some of the landmark creations from this artist. Most of his works were based on the light and darkness of life, created keeping the riot phase in mind.

    VS Gaitonde

    Gaitonde is a renowned painter of India, famous in all parts of the world. Each of his work shows the control he has on his paint brush. He was an epitome of the meditative Zen quality and this is reflected in his paintings as well.In fact, some artists regard him to be the best in the modern context of art and painting in modern India.

  • SixSpectacular Paintings from Poompuhar

    Poompuhar offers an extensive and colorful collection of exquisite traditional Indian paintings.The fine detailing and intricacy in each painting reflects a generous effort of the craftsmen in projecting India’s history and culture in its best form.

    Jute Painting

    The course texture and husky aroma of Jute is what makes this painting distinct among other handicrafts. Especially trained craftsmen employ the technique of hand painting on canvas made up of Jute fabric andJute Paints. With a nice quote written on,the beautiful item can be used as a magazine and key holder in your home and office. Very reasonably priced,it also showcases the artistic qualitiesand determination of the artisan.

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    Meenakari Painting

    The spiritual and multi colored key stand presenting exquisite Meenakari art with Om painted on is a must have for your home. It is designed using white, light blue, dark blue, transparent green and red color and can be used for bringing positive energy in your house. Offered at a very reasonable price, don’t think twice for this eternal and unique piece of art from Poompuhar.

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    ThanjavurMirror Painting

    The captivating handmade circular mirror with intricate Thanjavur painting done around will surely decorate the empty wall of your room. The mirrors and red green stonework at the circumference make this painting look more appealing and worth buying. Do purchase if you have a taste of ancient Indian handmade stuff.

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    Thanjavur Lord Krishna Painting

    Characterised by glittering gold borders and vibrant colors, this portrait is breathtakingly brilliant. The traditional Thanjavur taste of art can be seen where Lord Krishna is portrayed floating over a peepal leaf on water after the destruction of the world. The fine use of gesso work and embellishment with semi-precious metal makes this painting look more charming and can be hung on your home wall for peace and tranquility.

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    Village ladies Painting

    Simple and elegant, this splendid painting displays many traditions of an Indian village where the ladies are highlighted against a dark hue. Decorate your drawing room or gift it to your loved ones, the distinguishing art piece is worth its price.

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    TajMahal Painting

    This is an ultimate painting featuring the iconic TajMahal. Outlined with a golden frame followed by a generous blue border and a shining moon star on top, the mesmerizing painting will definitely steal the heart of art lovers. The finesse and detailing done by our artisans at Poompuhar is deeply reflected. Buy this for your home decoration, the skill employed here will never let you regret its price.

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  • Cave temples in India: Divinity expressed through arts

    India has incredible cave temples that reflect determination, faith of early humans and present wonderful arenas of ancient Indian rock cut architecture. These rock-cut cave temples aren’t just rich in history, they also boast of remarkable architectural and artistic qualities that existed in ancient civilization of India. Here’s a list of few strikingly beautiful cave temples of India.

    Ajanta and Ellora Caves, Maharashtra

    Ajanta and Ellora caves are undoubtedly the pride of India and include stunning paintings and commendable rock cut sculptures. They are believed to have been formed by accumulation of limestone. One needs to explore the caves to understand its history and magnificence. There are 34 caves at the Ellora that date back to 6th and 11th century AD and 29 caves at Ajanta dating back to 2nd century BC and 6th century AD. The caves at the Ajanta are Buddhist caves while Ellora caves are a mix of Buddhism, Hinduism as well as Jainism. They exhibit finest surviving example of ancient Indian art today.

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    Badami Caves, Karnataka

    The manmade Badami caves are the finest example of Badami Chalukya rock cut architecture. The temple is located at the bank of an artificial lake in Badami town of Karnataka and dates back to 6th and 7th century AD. It has total four caves out of which three have Brahamanical temples and one has Jain temple. Each cave has artistically carved sculptures of Hindu Gods and reflects Chalukayas immense love for sandstone architecture .These magnificent caves are also amongst the top tourist attractions of Karnataka.

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    Elephanta Island Caves, Maharashtra

    The enigmatic Elephanta caves date back to 5thand 8th centuries AD and are believed to have been hand carved out of a single rock. Located on the densely covered Elephanta Island, it consists of a large group of five Hindu caves and a smaller group of two Buddhist caves that feature spectacular sculptures of Hindu mythological figures. The main cave or the Great Cave has a 6 m high Trimurthi sculpture of the three faces of Lord Shiva and is a sacred Hindu place of worship. Despite the mindless destruction during colonial past, Elephanta cave still attracts numerous tourists from around the country every year.

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    Varaha Caves, Tamil Nadu

    Built in the late 7th century AD, Varaha Cave Temple at Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) is an outstanding example of Indian rock cut architecture. This temple has intricately moulded lion pillars with elaborate sculptures of Lakshmi, Durga and Varaha, the boar incarnation of Vishnu and reflects natural art and culture of Pallava dynasty.

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    Trichy Rock Fort Temple, Tamil Nadu

    Constructed on a 273 foot high rock, Tiruchirapalli Rock Fort is a 7th century old Hindu temple and is amongst the most incredible cave temples in India. There are two cave temples namely The Uchchi Pillayar Koil and The Siva Temple. The caves are said to have been built during the Pallavas, but it was the Nayaks of Madurai who completed both the temples. The cave’s interiors are spectacularly gripping and its hill top view is simply breathtaking.

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    Dungeshwari Cave Temples, Bihar

    Also known as the Mahakala caves, Dungeshwari Caves house the Buddhist temples that are very artistically structured. These are three caves where it is believed the Buddha spent a lot of years meditating, before going to Bodhygaya and attaining enlightenment. This is a worshipping place for Buddhists and is very peaceful and meditative.

    Amarnath Cave, Jammu and Kashmir

    One of the holiest shrines in Hinduism even today, the Amarnath cave temple is located at an altitude of 12,756 ft, within the snow-covered mountains of Jammu and Kashmir. According to a Hindu legend, this is the cave where Shiva explained the secret of life and eternity to Parvati. Thousands of pilgrims every year pay visit to pray Shiv Linga, the stalagmite that is formed due to freezing of falling waterdrops from the roof and grows up vertically from the floor inside the 40 m tall Amarnath cave.

    Borra Caves, Andhra Pradesh

    More than 150 years old, Borra Caves are situated in the Ananthagiri Hills(about 705 m high) in Araku Valley of Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh are one of the largest cave in the country. Formed from limestone, these wonder caves distinctly exhibit many irregularly shaped stalactites and stalagmites that have been associated with various deities according to their shapes. Famous figures of this cave temple include a Shivalingam and the idol of the cow known as Kamadhenu.

  • Traditional Handicrafts of Karnataka

    Besides its matchless architecture and breathtaking scenic beauty, Karnataka is also blessed with classic and vibrant handicraft culture. The most distinctive attribute of Karnataka handicrafts is that it is produced by using traditional methods that has evolved through ages. Lets have a quick glance over the resplendent handicraft from the state

    Metal crafts

    Metalware in Karnataka has a rich and ancient tradition and the objects serve both religious and secular purposes. A popular and traditional art called as Bidri came to this place from Iran. It entails encrusting one metal into another in the form of wire. Bidriware includes articles like ornamental jugs, bowls, plates, hookah, penholders, candlesticks, and even paper knives.

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    Woodcarving

    The intricate carvings on the ceilings and doors of temples present the most impressive wood work of the state. Karnataka has a rich forest cover which is a good source for making marvellous wooden crafts like lamp shades, baskets, trays, jewel boxes, combs, puppets, toys and even walking sticks with rosewood handles. Sandalwood crafts are especially famous for their style and unique fragrance and usually depicts Lord Krishna and Goddess Parwathi.

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    Ivory carving

    Karnataka, the land of elephants holds supremacy in adorning ivory on earrings, bracelets, necklaces, small ornament boxes etc. This art is unique and surpasses all other Indian handicrafts in its style and beauty. The ivory carving depicts mostly the images of god and goddess especially the images of Lord Krishna.

    Stone Carving

    Stone carving is popular in Hoysala of Karnataka where craftsmen designate gender to the stones for carving sculptures of gods or goddesses The most popular subject of stone carving is the image of Lord Krishna and Lord Ganesha.

    Wooden toys

    The origin of wooden toys dates back to Tipu Sultan, the ruler of the state that time, who initiated vegetable dyes and soft wood for making toys. The impeccable craftsmanship and creativity of Channapatna artisans is depicted in the toys like horses, cars, puzzles etc. Doll making holds its root to Gokak town where the artisans use lightweightwood and a special paste of tamarind seeds, pebbles, powdered jute, rag and natural colors to make eco friendly toys. The nine day long exhibition during Dusshera here is worth visiting, where the dolls are decorated and evenly displayed on wooden platforms.

    Mysore Paintings

    Mysore paintings dates back to the Ajanta time and revived during King Wodeyar reign. The graceful detailing of the images, bright vegetable colors and lustrous gold leaf, make the Mysore paintings look very elegant and attractive. The expertise, hard work and patience of artisans can be clearly seen in any piece of Mysore painting.

     Mysore Silk

    Influenced by the concept of Sericulture Tipu Sultan rendered Mysore as the India’s largest silk producing city. Mysore silk saris and dress materials stands out for its classic sheen and regal look, among all other silk fabrics from India. Today, Karnataka alone is contributing to 75 per cent of nation's silk production.

  • Embroidery-The Window to Colorful Indian Culture

    Embroidery is an expression of self, rendered with patience and hard work, it is an art rightly described as "painting by needle". The history of embroidery dates back to 3rd-5th century BC and the period of Warring States of China. Indian Embroidery takes its inspiration from nature and religion. The colors, base, theme and styles reflect the state to which it belongs to. Embroidery is an art of decorating a fabric with threads, wires or sometimes leather using a needle. Embroidery has immense variety with over 100 different types of stitches,that reflects its own individuality and finesse. The basic stitches being stem stitch, chain stitch & cross stitch. Embroidery can be done on net, cotton, leather, velvet. The artistans embed lively expression through exquisite patterns and motifs on the fabric that often whispers tales of love and affection. Embroidery these days is also done by machines, but hand embroidery is more appealing and popular. The most exclusive hand embroidery styles practiced in India are:

    Zardozi

    An embroidery that was once used to embellish royal garments, is an ancient art of sewing gold and silver threads on fabrics such as muslin, velvet or silk. It is called as kamdani when done on delicate fabrics and on heavy fabrics (for example tents, hangings, curtains) it is known as karchobi.

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    Chikankari

    Chikankari is an intrinsic and delicate art of creating white colored motifs on a white muslin cloth While its central hub and place of origin is Lucknow, the  capital of Uttar Pradesh, Chikan work has now spread far and wide within India. The 400 year old art uses 36 different type of stitches that are often embellished with mirrors, pearls and mukaish. The most striking feature of chikan cloth is that the fabric is extremely leight-weight and does not do not stick to the body allowing the skin to breathe especially during summer season.

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    Kashmiri Embroidery/Kashidakari

    A state of the art embroidery style, Kashida’s mesmerizing beauty is revealed in its shawls, salwar kameez, sarees and in all types of home furnishing items that come out of Kashmir. The perfect intricate natural patterns are usually inspired by nature. The most popular embroideries types are Aari, Sozni and Tilla done on wool, cotton, silk and pashmina shawls.

    Kantha Embroidery

    Kantha in sanskrit means “rag” which itself reflects the fact that Kantha embroidery is done using old and discarded clothes. Practiced by women of Bengal and Orissa, the fascinating kantha work is the oldest form of embroidery originated in India.

    Chamba Rumal Embroidery of Himachal Pradesh

    Chamba Rumal is a languishing art form in India. The speciality is that the art piece is reversible and finely finished on both sides of the cloth using “Do rukha tanka” technique. The rumals or handkerchiefs, are used as a symbol of goodwill and affection on festive occasions. The are also used as for covering food dishes.

    Phulkari

    Punjab’s Phulkari is an art of carving flower motifs on the reverse of the cloth so that the design takes shape in the front. A contrast of bright colours on a light coloured fabric is what makes this embroidery stand out. Red color is most commonly used.

    Banni Embroidery or Heer Bharat

    Seeking inspiration from architectural designs of Kutch region Banni embroidery is considered to be one of the most distinct and attractive embroidery forms of India. Heer (Silk Floss) is used as thread to create minute and dazzling embroidery patterns.

    Rajasthani Patchwork

    It’s a simple handicraft that involves stitching together small pieces of cloth in a decorative pattern to form the topmost layer of the piece with layers of cloth padding underneath.

    Rabari/Mirror Embroidery

    Originating from Rewar region of Gujarat and Rajasthan this embroidery is a pictographic representation of state’s culture and tradition. A belief or mythology that mirrors protect their children from evil spirits inhabiting their world, the amazing craft from this region uses mirrors and colourful threads to create unique and intriguing patterns on various items like handbags, accessories, home furnishing etc.

    Toda Embroidery

    Toda/Tribal embroidery has its origins from Nilgiri Hills in Tamil Nadu. The embroidery is done between red and black bands of the shawl. Buffalo is used as a popular motif in Toda embroidery along with peacock, sun, moon, stars.

    Kasuthi Embroidery

    Kasuti embroidery also called as Holbein Stitch is a traditional form of folk embroidery practiced in Karnataka. The exquisite geometrical and symmetrical patterns are used to decorate saree borders and churidar neck designs.

    Manipuri Embroidery

    The scenic beauty of Manipur can be seen in its rich and royal handicraft. Akoybi, Tindogbi, Shamilami, Hijay, Leirong and Maibung embroideries style are very popular here. The technique uses one stitch with different patterns like swords, battle scenes, warriors and wild animals. It is on Manipuri handloom products like shawls, bed and table covers.

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