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Tanjore Paintings - Classic Art Painting

Updated on September 24, 2015

Why Tanjore Paintings are Unique?

Tanjore Painting is a special, very old, minute type of painting named after the place Tanjore (Thanjavur in Tamil) in Tamil Nadu, a southern state of INDIA.

These paintings are made by the 'cover with golden and gem-set technique' a method where gold colored leaves & sparkling stones are used to emphasize certain aspects of the paintings like ornaments, dresses etc. Tanjore Paintings are known for their art richness, vibrant colours and condensed composition.

Basically serving as devotional symbols, the subject matters of most of these paintings are Hindu Gods and Goddesses, Saints and Kings as well.

Photo Source: Flickr

Tanjore Painting Collection
Tanjore Painting Collection

About Tanjore Paintings

Each Tanjore painting is done stage by stage using semi-precious stones to embellish. These paintings are done on wooden board on which Layering of clay will get three dimensional engraved outcome.

22carat Gold foils are fixed on the images where it is necessary, which gives an ornate look to the painting. The drawing of the figures is classic and robust and eyes are almond like shaped. The representations of the figures in these paintings are breathtakingly wonderful.

The paintings are the sights from the olden holy books of Hindu religion. They are exceptional and rich in synchronization of colors, designs, and traditional techniques mixed with thorough attention to details.

The structure is normally static and contains generally of one central figure, the deity, centrally placed. The deity is properly housed within an insertion of a palace or temple pavilion.

Even when there is no architectural background, an inclusion is formed by means of an arch, curtains, or ceremonial surrounding borders. High-class gold foils are used to guarantee the paintings lasts decades and becomes treasures of the family.

These paintings commonly grow in value and measured as collectibles. Paintings come in three varieties as 1.Classic, 2.Antinque Style, and 3.Embossed.

In the classic section, Strong colors and gorgeous backgrounds are merged with high gleam gold foil, while, in the antique style, the gold's glitter is moderate with more delicate colors and simple backgrounds. The embossed paintings are comparable to the classic style but are super embossed to bring about the more 3D effect.

Colorful Paintings

The paintings are bright & colourful and breathtakingly beautiful. The influence in a darkened room is that of a lustrous presence. While most of the paintings are portray the 'Child Krishna and his various pranks', paintings of other divine being were also produced.

In the modern times, Tanjore paintings have become a much wanted as souvenir during festive occasions in Southern India; or as pieces to decorate the walls; or as collectors' item by art lovers from around the world.

Making a Tanjore Painting

There are several stages in this art work. The canvas is generally a teak wood board over which a layer of cloth is pasted. A glue is spread over to soften the board. The plane is smoothened by scrubbing it with a smooth emery sheet. After this the artist illustrates detailed sketch on the board. Semi-precious stones of various colours are utilized to decorate this art work. In olden days, diamonds, rubies, sapphire and other precious stones were utilized. To produce 3D embossed effects, layers of paste made from the glue and limestone are put on the surface. Once carrying out full relief work, wafer like foils of 22 carat gold are fine-tuned on top. Bold colours are utilized to fill up the circumventing areas. The main subjects in the painting are large and the other figures may be diminutively minuscule in size.

Latest techniques have been established by skilled artist to keep this form of painting art alive. Chalk powder and up-to-date synthetic pasting material have changed the customary materials. Present day artists are utilizing chemical paints as an alternative of vegetable dyes for colours and shades. But still immensely colossal care is exercised in following to tradition while portraying the paintings.

Photo Source: Tarang

Tanjore derives its name from the headquarters of Chola Empire, Thanjavur. This place has one of the beautiful temples in the world of Lord Shiva-Big temple. This unique art form was grown with the support of the Maratha rulers in the 18th century. This type of paintings which is well-known for its ornamental relief work was grown with the patronage of the kings.

Famous Maratha King Sarofoji
Famous Maratha King Sarofoji

Maratha King Serfoji

Photo Source: Flickr

This art well nourished by King - Serfoji. This Maratha King, who ruled Tanjore from 1798 to 1832, to whom we owe the "Ganesha shrine" in the "Big Temple", played a significant part in the history of the art of his times.

History of Tanjore Painting

Photo Source: Tarang

Tanjore paintings will go down in the history of art as one of the most innovative and historical art form. Tanjore painting is a significant form of classical as well as ethnic Tamil Nadu painting that is native to the town of Tanjore in Tamilnadu. This painting is known as 'Thanjai Oviyam' in the city of Tanjore. The history of these art is no less renowned than the painting itself. The history of this art of paintings dates back to the early 9th Century.

The powerful Chola rulers, who exhilarated art and literature as well, subjugated the era when this painting style was in its blossoming stage. But this particular type art form was grown with the support of the Maratha rulers in the 18th century. These paintings are well-known for their stylishness, gorgeous color, and attention to detail. The subjects for most of these paintings are the scenes from Hindu mythology. These paintings have become extremely popular in modern times and are much wanted after memento during festive seasons.

Tanjore Painting Details
Tanjore Painting Details

Photo Source: Flickr

Laxmi - Tanjore painting
Laxmi - Tanjore painting

For Wall Decoration

More Videos About Tanjore Paintings

Tanjore Painting
Tanjore Painting

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Map of Tanjore

"Tanjore, Tamil Nadu":
"Tanjore, Tamil Nadu"

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Thank you very much for visiting this lens! - I would love to have your valuable comments about Tanjore Paintings or your views/suggestions etc. about this topi

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    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 

      4 years ago from Alabama USA

      These are very pretty painting. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have a few of these but never knew what they're called so thanks for all the info on these paintings.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image


      5 years ago

      Superb job on this beautiful lens. Love the Janjore paintings.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have to say these Tanjore paintings are extra-ordinarily beautiful and unique, they capture the beauty of India and its rich heritage. A beautiful subject to write a lens on.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      How different and colorful.

    • FallenAngel 483 profile image

      FallenAngel 483 

      6 years ago

      Clever to use gold leaves and jewels. This style of art really stands out on its own. Another very interesting lens to read, thank you.

    • Wedding Mom profile image

      Wedding Mom 

      6 years ago

      Tanjore paintings are beautiful and unique.

    • raelcalu profile image


      6 years ago

      nice...thanks for the share.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      thanjai art work nice all very nice good work real nice

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Stopping back to enjoy your beautiful and unique Tanjore painings once again, thank you for keeping the gallery open!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      These paintings are really, quite literally, "rich with details!" Very artistic!

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 

      7 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      So many details! It is astonishing, thanks for your presentation:-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Such detailed artwork. Very nice lens!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting and beautiful artwork

    • CruiseReady profile image


      7 years ago from East Central Florida

      Just beautiful, and this page is a wonderful companion to your page about Kolam floor art, too!

    • efcruzarts profile image


      7 years ago

      lens of great mysticism effects

    • kathysart profile image


      7 years ago

      Lovely.. just so lovely. THUMBS UP on this wonderful lens!

    • Krafick profile image


      7 years ago

      Very beautiful paintings. By the way, I've been to Thanjavur.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      7 years ago from Iowa

      Had been here before but returned with a blessing.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome coverage. Your work in highlighting our culture is second to none. Thank you and God bless.

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 

      7 years ago

      I love this art form of Tanjore paintings. My grandmother had a beautiful Sri Rama tanjore painting. They are truly magnificent.

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image


      7 years ago from Rhode Island

      Beautiful art I love this lens

    • Charmcrazey profile image

      Wanda Fitzgerald 

      7 years ago from Central Florida

      Beautiful art with such intricate details. I'm happy to learn something about it. Thanks.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow, what gorgeous paintings! Thanks for sharing these with us, Sukkran!

    • linhah lm profile image

      Linda Hahn 

      7 years ago from California

      Beautiful art form.

    • cinstress profile image


      7 years ago

      wow these are beautifulI saw your lens at job

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 

      7 years ago

      Beautiful paintings, Tanjore is so intricate and delicate it must take a lot of patience. You have done a fantastic job of explaining the art, I have never heard of it before I'm glad I found this. Blessed and featured here...

    • ArtByLinda profile image

      Linda Hoxie 

      7 years ago from Idaho

      These paintings are so beautiful, so detailed, amazing talent in each of these artists.

    • ElizabethSheppard profile image

      Elizabeth Sheppard 

      7 years ago from Bowling Green, Kentucky

      What beautiful paintings. I enjoyed this lens very much.

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 

      7 years ago

      Nominating this lens for the LotD

    • sukkran trichy profile imageAUTHOR

      sukkran trichy 

      7 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      @Harshitha LM: ok harshitha. if you want you can make a lens. thanks for your support.

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 

      7 years ago

      Amazing lens with most beautiful paintings. I guess I will have to create a lens which comprises of all your lenses with description. Wonderful work!!!

    • ZenandChic profile image


      7 years ago

      Awesome lens! Blessing it!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 

      7 years ago

      Love this lens, the artwork, and the great lensmastership -:)

    • beerhead profile image


      7 years ago

      Rich with information. Beautiful paintings excellent lens!!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      8 years ago from United States

      Stunningly beautiful paintings with so much detail and color!

    • trezpazz profile image


      8 years ago

      Lovely paintings....never heard of them and are stunning!

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      8 years ago from West Virginia

      Lovely art. I love the gemstone embellishments; they make the paintings look so lively.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A beautiful lens with a beautiful subject and thanks for sharing about this wonderful art form!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      A beautiful lens with a beautiful subject and thanks for sharing about this wonderful art form!

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Gorgeous lens on Tanjore paintings and a brief history of what makes them so special. **Blessed by a Squid-Angel**

    • Jhangora LM profile image

      Jhangora LM 

      8 years ago

      Beautiful lens. Lensrolling it to my lens on Madhubani Painting.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image


      8 years ago from Iowa

      Lovely lens, I learned a lot here. The art is lovely.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      So rich with art. Thanks for sharing this.

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 

      8 years ago from UK

      What beautiful paintings. A lovely insight into your culture.

    • TrinaSonnenberg profile image

      Trina Sonenberg 

      8 years ago from Nucla, Colorado

      Beautiful! Nice job!

    • surfindia lm profile image

      surfindia lm 

      8 years ago

      Just fabulous information on Tanjore Paintings.


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