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Art and Craft

Indian Art and Craft – Thanjavur Painting

Indian Art and Craft – Thanjavur Painting

Thanjavur (anglicized as Tanjore) is a classical South Indian painting style. Originated in Thanjavur around 1600AD during the period of Nayakas of Thanjavur. Paintings are mainly of Hindu religious subjects in temples.


The Thanjavur paintings have a distinct characteristics with their rich and vivid colours. The composition is simple but overlaid by glittering gold foils. They use an inlay of glass beads and pieces or sometimes very precious and semi-precious gems.

The Thanjavur paintings are influenced by Deccani, Vijayanagara, Maratha styles of painting. They showcase paintings of Hindu Gods, Goddesses and Saints. Visualizations are either sketches or traces which are painted with the main figure/figures in the centre and surrounding other subsidiary figures.

Thanjavur paintings are also called as “Palagai Padam” as they are made on wooden planks. “Palagai” means wooden plank and “Padam” means picture.


The painting artists were “Moochys” or “Artists of India”. Traditional artists were the Raju community of Thanjavur and Thiruchi as well as Nayudu community of Madurai.

Picture used for illustration only – Credit: B Balaji

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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