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History behind Kalamkari Paintings

Kalamkari is hand painted or block printed cotton textile. It has taken its name from “kalam” which means ‘pen’ and “kari” that means ‘work’. So, collectively, it means pen work. It is an ancient art that was originated about 3000 years ago and is still practiced, appreciated and loved by all. It is one of the best handicraft works still prevailing with the same zeal. The Kalamkari artists use bamboo stick which is pointed at one end that has a bundle of fine hair which is attached to this pointed end that works as the b rush.

It has a rich history when painters and singers used to roam from one village to the other narrating Hindu Mythology to the people around. As time passed by, the source of storytelling took the form of art in the form of canvas paintings. The paintings also used to depict Hindu deities and their tales from the chapters of Mythology. The samples of Kalamkari art was also found at some of the Archeological sites of Mohenjo-Daro. The style got renowned when Mughals ascended the throne and they promoted this art in the Golconda and Coromandel province where many skilled artisans and painters used to practice this art. This all has led to the evolution of Kalamlari paintings.

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The art of Making

The making of the painting involves some steps that are crucial to get the finest painting made. The first step is to stiffen the cloth using astringent or anything else that does the same. The next step to be followed is to dye it under sun. Once it is done, the colorful portions of the fabric are outlined with a mordant. Then the artisans cover the cloth except the parts to be dyed blue in wax and immerse the cloth in Indigo dye. This way, the wax is strapped off and the remaining portions are painted by hand.

To make the designs more precise and beautiful, the bamboo sticks are used when the pen is dipped in a mixture of the fermented jaggery and water and the painting is done.

Masulipatnam Kalamkari

It dates back to the Muslim rule in Golconda and was majorly influenced by Persians.

Sri Kalahasti Style

It was based on Hindu Mythology, the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharata that uses images of Gods and deities. This way this style of painting has evolved.

Karrupur Style

It has got prominence from the famous Thanjavur region during the Maratha rule. The addition to this style that improves the décor is the gold brocade work it has.

The styles are indistinct and beautiful that depicts rich cultural heritage of the country and keeps handicraft alive. The mythology is depicted through these paintings. There are many styles and forms to this that are available throughout. These paintings have a flourishing market in and outside India that leads us in leading exhibitions that showcase Indian culture.

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