Arts and Crafts of Tamil Nadu
The famous arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu, in its earlier stages was
highly influenced by the temple economy that prevailed for a long time
in this part of the country. These rich temples of the region were
like budding ground for the craftsmen who used get constant
construction work in these temples and helping them to regularly
upgrade their knowledge and experience.
¤ Famous Paintings of Tanjore
well-known Tanjore paintings are the most important handicrafts of
Tamil Nadu. These paintings are painted on wood, glass, mica, ivory
and on walls, are defined by the use of thin sheet of gold along with
primary colors, stylized modeling effects by shading the inside of the
contours. Jewels, drapery and architectural elements like finely
executed pillars, rich canopies, garlands of ropes and chandeliers are
slightly raised by the use of special plaster, covered with pure gold
leaf and embedded with semi-precious stone of different colors.
Painting on ivory, mica, and the more difficult genre of glass
paintings, were all introduced in the 18th century. Whereas the
religious paintings are highly decorative and flat, the paintings of
the women are highly conventionalized with an element of reality
infused in the portraits.
¤ The Craft of Making Musical Instruments
Music and dance played an important role in the life of Tamil Nadu.
Thus, the making of musical instruments became a major craft, here.
Most of the centers for this craft are situated around Thanjavur,
which is also the hometown of many famous musicians of the country.
According to the Tamil classic, the Silappadikaaram, there's an
ancient Tamil instrument, the wooden Yaazh in the shape of boats,
fishes, and crocodiles, which is similar to the harp or lute. This
instrument has been replaced by the more versatile Veena, made of
Jackwood. The various parts of this instrument are, the kudam (pot),
top plank, neck and yaali. These are first assembled and a mixture of
honey wax and black powder is applied to the top plank. Then it is
further processed for completion. In Thanjavur, there are families
that are into the trade of manufacturing Veenas for generations. Other
musical instruments are the Thamburas with their wooden bases, the
flute or kuzhal-a wind instrument associated with Lord Krishna. It is
popularly known as Vangiyam, made of bamboo, sandalwood, bronze,
sengaali and karungaali woods.
¤ The Art of Creating Jewelery
Just like other parts of the country, Tamil Nadu has its own
traditional jewellery-especially the stone-encrusted jewelery, which
reached its peak here. The ornaments, which are popular here are the
oddiyaanam (gold waist belt), vanki (armlet) and jimiki (eardrop),
which are traditionally crafted and finished with great dexterity. The
jimiki is a bell-shaped ear jewel set in colored stones with pearls
hanging at the lower end, and hangs from the lotus shaped kammal of
diamonds or rubies worn on the lower lobe of the ear. Other beautiful
jewel that Tamil women wear are maattal, adigai, maangaamaalai, thaali
or mangalasuthra, kaasumaalai, puduchcheri golusu, Gajja golusu.
¤ Metalware in Tamil Nadu
The famous brass and copper metalware has a rich and ancient
tradition in Tamil Nadu. These metal objects are used for both
religious and secular purposes, though utility is a primary
consideration. The deepam or lamp are regarded as a symbol of Agni,
which is auspicious and is the best known of the State's metalware.
There is a good variety of lamps that includes standing lamps, aarathi
(votive lamps), deepalakshmis, hand lamps and chain lamps. Patterned
trays and shallow dishes in circular, hexagonal, octagonal and oval
shapes are widely used in Tamil Nadu and are made out of bronze or
sheet brass. The popular Thanjavur plates feature designs of deities,
birds, flowers, and geometric patterns beaten out from the back of
copper and silver sheets and subsequently encrusted on a brass tray,
kudam or panchpaathra. Metal toys include models of horses, cows or
elephants are made chiefly of brass. A whole range of attractively
polished and finished utensils of utilitarian value are also made.
famous art of pottery has been practiced here from ancient times,
which is expressed in the manufacture of the famous Ayyannar horses.
The horses are said to protect each village from evil. The large
terracotta horses are made in Salem and Pudukottai. The horses were
originally made and fired individually. But with increasing popularity
of terracotta art items, the moulds began to be put into use.
Tamil Nadu's artistically created basketry and fiber products is in
demand both in India and abroad. While palm has become a major source
of raw material for basketry and related products, bamboo, cane,
grasses, reeds and fibres are also used in making baskets, ropes, mats
and many other items. The main centers of these crafts are to be found
in Dharampuri, Salem, Coimbatore, South Arcot and Tiruchirapalli
¤ Stone Carving
Stone carving have reached a high degree of excellence in this
southern state very early in history. Today, granite carving is
confined to the areas around Mamallapuram and Chingleput. The famous
sculptors here belong to the Vishwakarma or Kammaalar community. A
subsidiary form of carving is soapstone or maakal carving, found in
the region between Pondicherry and Cuddalore and around Salem.