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Monthly Archives: May 2017

  • An insight into South Indian Stone Carving and Sculptures

    Stone carving is an ancient activity of shaping rough natural stones through controlled removal of stone. It is a process employed by an artist while making a sculpture. Stone carving is mostly preferred over wood or metal work as many types of stones are easier to find than metal ores. Stone carvings last much longer than woodwork as stone is more durable than wood. Also the availability of varieties, quality and color among stones make it a choice of material to start off with the process of sculpting.

    Image Credit - wikimedia Image Credit - wikimedia

    The stones commonly used in sculpting are easily carved soft stones such as soapstone and pumice. Limestone and marble is also popularly used. Certain hard stones like granite and basalt form a beautiful finishing and are carved with special iron or steel tools. The crucial point in the process of sculpturing is the quality of the material used. The sculptor has to go into thorough details regarding the quality, texture and color of the stone before proceeding to work. The art of stone carving and sculpting is almost similar to the measurements, techniques and details set out for Shilpa Shastra. The enthusiastic and dedicated sculptors of South India have always worked creatively with the indigenous and extremely durable variety of the stone available to construct beautiful temples and sculptures.

    The astonishing temples that glorify south India are from Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. These states were ruled by various dynasties of Pallavas, Chalukyas, Viajayanagar Empire, Kakatiyas, Cholas, Rashtrakutas and Gangas and all the architecture reflects the culture and tradition of each dynasty in which it was built. The glory of south Indian temple architecture can best be seen at Meenakshi Temple at Madurai. The magnificent temple features a thousand pillared mandapas, huge reliefs and tall gateways.

    The sculptor’s unique sense skill can also be seen in the other temples of the region. At Chidambaram, there is a beautiful temple featuring the 108 mudras of the Natya Shastra while at Kanchipuram one can see a number of the temples reflecting the culture of Pallava and Nayak dynasty.

    Rock cut temple sculpture is mainly the contribution of Rashtrakutas period which exhibits Jainism and Buddhism culture. The temples beautifully depict mythological gods and goddesses from Hindu puranas on their outer walls.

    Sangam period witnessed more artistic and nature inspired elements that can well be seen on the deities inside Chidambaram Thillai Nataraja Temple and the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple of Tamil Nadu. The Pallavas period introduced a new phase in art at that time. They introduced incredible and novel ways of artistic expression in sculpting. Mamallapuram (Mahabalipuram) is the biggest example of such art form. Made from granite and dressed stone Mahabalipuram exhibits dream world of amazing tamil stone art and architechture.

    Sculptures of Chalukya dynasty are mainly found in the state of Karnataka. Standing tall on a lotus Gomateshwara monolith is considered as the major sculpture of Ganga dynasty in Karnataka and has been carved from fine grained white granite. Temples built by Kakatiya dynasty of Warangal are those at Palampeta, Hanamkonda and the Warangal fort, displaying both the love for architecture and the zest of sculpting.

    The distinct feature of south Indian sculpture is that they redefined and provided a unique identity to the art of sculpturing in India.

  • 4 things at Poompuhar that will bring back your childhood memories

    Amid the hustle bustle of the city life, that one moment which reminds us of our childhood is enough to bring back memories and throw us into a nostalgia. The modern city is so fast faced that things come and go, we have become machines working tirelessly and trying to be absorbed into what is happening around us. Would it not be wonderful if someone comes to you and reminds you of the days you left behind?

    Let Poompuhar take you down the memory lane.

    NavgrahamDeepam: Be it school assemblies or an evening prayer ceremony at home. The navgrahamdeepam was the centerpiece of it all. The lamp having a broad stem with base and a deep thagali on the sides with a wick could be seen at every house, every school and any other place we can imagine. Check out the NavgrahamDeepams available on Poompuhar.org

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    Antique Finish Brass Plates: This round plate wall hanging with peacock enamel design could be seen in every home. Infact a distinct shelve was given in the living room of houses to showcase these antique plates made of brass. Did your home have one? Check out these beautiful antique finish brass plates for decorating your wall on Poompuhar.org

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    Chopu Set or the Kitchen Sets: Girls hold your heartbeats and brace yourself to be reminded of your ultimate birthday present ask. The chopu set or the model kitchen set was a firm favourite of girls back in the days. Every girl had at least one set or multiple sets of these kitchen items made of wood. While today the wooden chopu set has been replaced by the swanky Barbie dolls and Barbie mansions, but this thing still has its old world glory. We have chopu sets in multiple sizes at poompuhar.org

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    Toy Trains: Boys, it is your turn to be mesmerized now. Remember how you craved for the ultimate wooden toy train or truck? You could spend hours and hours playing with these toys and never let go of them. The ultimate fanboy item is available on poompuhar.org . Check them out!

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    There are plenty of other items that would bring your childhood memories gushing back. Have a look at all of them here : http://tnpoompuhar.org

  • Pithora Paintings: An ancient and sacred form of Wall Painting

    A painting holds a deep relevance in India and is always associated with traditions and history. Pithora paintings are more of a ritualistic form of wall painting made by tribes known as Rathwas and Bhilalas of central Gujarat region, 90 km from Vadodara, in a village called Tejgadh. These paintings draw essence and inspiration from the lives of these people. Pithora paintings are considered very auspicious as they are believed to bring peace, prosperity and happiness in home. Another interesting feature of these paintings is that it is not imitated or inspired from nature at all. Pithora paintings are usually seen on three inter walls of the houses in these places A horse or a bull is usually painted at the centre to signify God. The quality, although, of Pithora painting is crude, but it is this feature only that adds beauty to these paintings.

    Image credit - wikipedia Image credit - wikipedia

    Pithora paintings find their roots in thousands of years old cave paintings of Gujarat. These paintings hold a deep social relevance and are the characteristic art tradition of Rathwa community. If you enter their houses you will find beautiful Pithora paintings always situated at the threshold, outside the first front wall or inside on the walls of the first room. The distinguishing feature of Pithora painting is a group of seven horses enclosed within a rectangular fence representing the seven hills that surround the geographical area. The wavy line depicts the river Narmada cuts in the painting. Three walls are selected for the painting, the front large central wall and the two on either side of it. The front or central wall (main wall) is very large, twice the size of each of the other selected sidewalls. These walls are first covered with two layers of cow dung paste and one layer of white chalk powder. Unmarried girls collect and bring these materials. This process is called as Leepna. The painters are called as lakhadas and do not belong to the family or house. The tribute and wish to be fulfilled is generally made to Baba Pithora (who is considered a deity there) before the start of painting. It takes days to prepare the final painting. The painting generally starts on Tuesday and ends by Wednesday. The two sidewalls are then painted with figures of minor deities and ancestors. The completion of the painting is celebrated with song, dance, feast and music. There are numerous different and wonderful designs and varieties of Pithora paintings with the smallest measuring one and a half feet and the largest 145 by 10 feet.

    Pithora painting has a variety of connotations and beliefs. Objects like farms, trees, fields, birds, sun and moon are depicted in their relative positions along with people and their ancestors. Even modern objects like railway tracks, aero planes, and computers also feature the paintings, thus making it a real depiction of the world of Rathwa tribe.

    Pithora painters even today have successfully managed to keep the essence and unique painting style still alive with changing environment.

  • Craft festivals of India

    From time immemorial, India has been the hub for crafts and art alike. Art work and craft work made in India has adorned the palaces of Indian royalty and their international counterparts in England, Spain, France, Portugal et al.

    Today the government of India, the states and many other organizations have taken it onto themselves to promote this extravagant culture of Art and Craft in India. A very recent example is be the development of Bunkar Marts or Weaver Marts throughout the state of Uttar Pradesh by the state government. Apart from the government backed craft festivals internationally, India is also home to some of the biggest art and craft festivals which see participation from local as well as international craftsmen.

    Here is a glimpse of some of the various festivals where India celebrates its arts and crafts:

    Surajkund Crafts Mela:

    One of the most popular crafts fair in India, SurajkundMela is held at Surajkund, Faridabad in Haryana which is in close proximity to the capital New Delhi. Celebrated in the month of February every year, this fair has been an annual affair since 1978. Set up with an intention of promoting art and craft, the fair sees participation from every state in India and also the neighbouring countries. At the Surajkund Crafts Mela, visitors can find paintings, textiles, wood carvings, bone work, pottery, terracotta, stone work, lacquer work, mirror work, cane and grass work among other specialities. The fair also includes a food festival and folk theatre.

    Image Credit- wikipedia Image Credit- wikipedia

    Kala Ghoda Festival:

    The fairly young Kala Ghoda Festival hasbeen celebrated in the Kala Ghoda area of South Mumbai since 1999. The festival is a must visit for everyone interested in visual arts, handicrafts, dance, music, theatre, cinema, literature, lectures, seminars and workshops with heritage walks, special events for children, and a street food festival. This nine day festival is held in early February and sees millions of visitors every year.

    Image Credit - en.wikipedia.org Image Credit - en.wikipedia.org

    Toshali Craft Fair:

    The thirteen day long Toshali Crafts Fair is held in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha every year in December and sees participation from the all the SAARC countries (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). Participants from all SAARC countries and Indian states showcase their best collections here. Artists, painters, weavers, sculptors and craftsmen specializing in any form of art wait for the fair as a perfect platform to exhibit their talents in front of a large audience. From Kanchipuram silk sarees of Tamil Nadu to the Chiki wood craft of Kashmir, everything is on display here apart from the various other events including a workshops on sand art, sculpture making and an amazing food festival.

  • Good, Old Mysore Silk

    When we think of South Indian fabric, the first thing that stands out is the Silk saree: the unique weave, smooth texture and minimalistic designs made with zari and motifs. Of all the myriad styles of silk sarees, ‘Mysore Silk Saree’ from Karnataka is an absolute favorite for everyone, be it for everyday wear or for weddings and functions.

    Image Credit - en.wikipedia.org Image Credit - en.wikipedia.org

    The history of Mysore Silk

    While its beginnings may be non-Indian, but today silk holds an important place in the wardrobe of every Indian and Mysore Silk takes the lead in this. Legend has it that history of silk in India can be traced back to the reign of Tipu Sultan(in 1785) who first imported silk cocoons from China and dreamt of making Mysore a leading center for silk production in the world. Since then sericulture has flourished in the Mysore region and the neighboring districts of Mandya, Chamarajnagar and Bengaluru.

    Another turning point for Mysore Silk in India was in 1912 when Maharaja of Mysore Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV went to Britain for Queen Victoria’s jubilee celebration and noticed the British royalty wearing machine made silk fabric. This inspired him to import 32 silk weaving machines from Switzerland and setting up the Mysore Silk Weaving Factory.

    What makes Mysore Silk so special?

    Each and every piece of Mysore silk is exclusively manufactured and produced by the Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation, each piece has a distinct mark and unique code embroidered in the corner. This unique code gives the following information:

    • The history of the saree
    • Details of its manufacturing
    • Hours spent on making the saree
    • Wages received by the weavers for the saree

    In fact, the unique code is the most telling sign and lets you distinguish an original from a fake.

    A feature that distinguishes Mysore silk sareesfrom other varieties is the use of genuine silk and pure gold zari giving it a natural sheen and rich texture. Even an old Mysore silk saree can be spotted from a mile away owing to its simple design and ‘as good as new’ shine.

    Mysore Silk today

    Today traditional and authentic silk sarees are manufactured exclusively by the Karnataka Silk Industries Corporation (KSIC). KSIC is the sole proprietor of the geographical indication for ‘Mysore Silk’ with certificate of GI patent which was awarded in 2005.

    With an estimated 35000 metres of pure silk fabric being produced every month, Mysore Silk has become one of the fastest selling and most demanded handloom product in India and is a favorite for weddings and traditional ceremonies.

  • Children special from Poompuhar

    Toys are the most desired and admired of all things among children. And if it is made up of natural, nonhazardous and organic ingredients then no parent will think twice to purchase a couple of them for their kids. Poompuhar offers a set of wonderful toys for your children that will not only keep them engaged but also help them learn about the nature. Find below some attractive toys from Poompuhar for your kid to let them remain engaged during these summer holidays:

    Kondapalli Toy: Duplex House With Well

    Kondapalli toys are manufactured in Kondapalli village of Andhra Pradesh and are popularly known as Kondapalli Bommalu. The main feature of these toys are that they are skillfully chiseled from a special light soft wood known as Tella Poniki and are then painted with natural vegetable dyes and attractive colors. This colorful house features a 2 story building, a cute staircase and a well at the side of the house.

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    Kondapalli Toy: Vegetables Sales Women

    This is another adorable toy from Kondapalli toys collection for your kid. Specially designed to enhance imaginative and social skills among children, this toy features a lady selling fresh and colorful vegetables like tomatoes, capsicum etc. This can be a good gifting item for a girl child.

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    Coconut Shell Giraffe Night Lamp

    This extraordinary and eco friendly night lamp in the form of a cute giraffe is carved with utmost perfection and determination using a simple coconut shell! The tribal region of India specializes in making such kind of beautiful toys and useful items. The item is sturdy and just need a zero watt bulb to show its charm. It is also safe and non toxic and comes in many other amazing designs at Poompuhar.

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    Toy Train

    The most favorite amongst every kid is a train toy. This blue and cream colored train engine will definitely keep your kid engaged for hours. Made from wood it is completely safe to be even handled by a newborn.

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    White Metal Camel

    Kids are a big fan of animals. This distinct piece of white metal camel comes in sets as well as individual pieces. The attractive feature of this toy is the use of lacquered enamel that imparts an eternal look to it and stays on there for ages.

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  • The Origin and History of Pashmina

    Who hasn’t heard of a Pashmina shawl?

    The ultra-light, warm and soft fabric worn by people across the world which has become a status symbol for manytoday. Pashmina or Cashmere has become hot stuff now. Worn by celebrities, the bold designs and explosion of colours have made Pashmina an all-time favourite for those wanting to make a style statement.

    Image credit - en.wikipedia.org Image credit - en.wikipedia.org

    Buthow much do you know about where it came from?How didPashmina become so popular?

    We may associate the finery of Pashmina with being dressed up, but in parts of Kashmir, Ladakh, Nepal and Tibet the Pashmina is actually lounge wear.

    How did it all start?

    The word Pashmina is derived from the word Pashmeh – which translates to ‘Made from Pashm’ where Pash means Wool in Persian. The name Pashmina was given to the fabric by Iranians who came to India via Ladakh and Kashmir.

    Pashmina was initially reserved only for the Kashmir royalty from where it was introduced to the Mughal Empire. The French traders were the ones that actually took pashmina to Europe where it became an instant hit owing to its quality.

    The special Pashmina wool comes from the Pashmina goat which is indigenous to the high altitudes of Ladakh, Kashmir and Nepal. The wool is collected every spring whenthe mountain goats shedtheir winter coat. This species of goat regrows the wool every winter to protect itself from the extreme cold present in the region where temperature can fall to -40 degrees.

    Did you know it can take more than a week to make a single pashmina shawl?

    Pashmina wool is very thin in diameter, infact it is almost 1/6 of a human hair which makes it very soft and light. Hence Pashmina has to be hand woven into products and fabrics as strands can break if exposed to a manufacturing process or machinery. This specialized process and tedious time consuming tasks are the reason that it can take a week to make a single pashmina shawl.

    Pashmina today!

    Today, Pashmina is regarded as the most sought after fabric in the world and has gained cult status for people who appreciate its distinct qualities. Most of the fashion houses globally have given a special status to Pashmina products.

    Srinagar in India and Kathmandu in Nepal have become centres for weaving pashmina fabrics in handlooms. Some of the most sought after products of pashmina include pashmina shawls, stoles, scarves,sweaters and mufflers.

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