Tanjore Painting is a peculiar, ancient, miniature type of painting named after the place Thanjavur (called Tanjore in English) in Tamil Nadu, a Southern state of INDIA. The art form dates back to about 1600 CE, a period of Nayaks of Thanjavur. This art can be linked to Chola periods. Chola murals were created by applying lime plaster first and then drawing over the plaster. But in Tanjore painting of Nayak period, chalk powder or limestone powder was applied and then drawing was made. Natural colors from plants and fruits were used in Chola and Nayak periods. So, the only difference between Chola murals and Tanjore paintings of Nayak periods is Tanjore painting was decorated with stones and gold foils.Of course, Tanjore paintings can not stand next to Chola murals size. Historians can recollect that Nayak paintings were hiding Chola murals when the murals were first discovered. Is Nayaks of Thanjavur getting the glory for Chola art?I leave this question to people who are well-versed in this subject. Lets proceed further to know about Thanjavur paintings.
Typical Thanjavur painting would consist of one main figure, a deity, with a well-rounded body and almond shaped eyes. The painting would be made by the gilded and gem-set technique. Gem-set technique is a technique where gold foils and sparkling stones are used to highlight certain aspects of the painting like ornaments dresses etc. The painting would be bright and colorful and breathtakingly beautiful.
Paintings were done on materials like wood, glass, mica, and exotic media such as ivory, murals and manuscripts.The early paintings were embedded with real Diamonds, Rubies and other precious stones.
Over a period of time changes have occurred in the stylization - for example, the figures are no longer round. Presiding deities of various famous temples are also being depicted in the paintings. Real stones are replaced by semi-precious and artificial stones.
“Religious paintings with a royal heritage” is the best definition for Thanjavur paintings. Tanjore painting ranks among the greatest traditional art forms for which India is noted worldwide.