Tanjore Paintings [UPSC Art & Culture]

India has an elite culture and diverse heritage which has been evolved from the Indus valley civilization. Indian Art and culture remains a challenging topic for many UPSC IAS aspirants. There will be a combination of questions from Art and culture, Ancient India, Medieval India, and Current affairs. The old NCERT books of Ancient and Medieval India is the elementary as well as an indispensable reference book for UPSC IAS prelims exam.

Art and culture is an important segment in the UPSC IAS Exam. The topics of art and culture segment have a relation between the history of India. UPSC has asked a substantial amount of questions from art and culture and history for UPSC IAS Prelims exam. In this regard, we are giving some important topics in art and culture. Here we are discussing the Tanjore paintings.

Tanjore Paintings

tanjore painting krishna radha face

Image source: www.tarangarts.com

  • Tanjore Painting of India, devised during the 16th century, under the sovereignty of the Cholas.
  • Rajus societies of Tanjore, and Naidus of Madurai also supported Tanjore Painting from 16th to the 18th century.
  • It is one of the popular forms of classical South Indian painting.
  • It is the native art form of Tanjore city of Tamil Nadu.
  • They are locally known as ‘Palagai Padam’ as it is mainly done on solid wood planks.
  • The theme of Tanjore Painting of Hindu Gods and Goddesses, along with saints.
  • The solid composition, surface richness and vibrant colours are the speciality of these paintings
  • These paintings use embellishments of semi-precious stones, pearls and glass pieces to make the painting attractive. The relief work provides them a three-dimensional effect.
  • The main character is always painted in the middle of the painting.
  • Artists usually give a three-dimensional effect to the pictures.
  • The first step among the numerous steps in the making of the painting involves drawing of the preliminary sketch of the image on the base.
  • The base of the Tanjore painting is made up of cloth and is pasted over a wooden base.
  • The painting uses a mixture of chalk powder or zinc oxide with water-soluble adhesive to spread on the base.
  • Thereafter, the picture is drawn and decorated with the diamond, lace, thread, cut glass, pearls and even semi-precious stones.
  • Thanjavur painting has been recognized as a Geographical indication by the Government of India in 2007-08.

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Frequently Asked Questions on Facts About Tanjore Paintings


Q 1. What are the important characteristics of Tanjore Paintings?

Ans. Tanjore paintings, also known as Thanjavur paintings are Religious paintings with a royal heritage. These paintings mainly demonstrate Hindu gods and goddesses in various poses and describing the different stages of life being. Given below are the characteristics of Tanjore Paintings:

  • Vibrant colour scheme
  • Decorative jewellery with stones and cut glasses
  • Gold leaf work

Q 2. Where do the Tanjore Paintings belong to?

Ans. Tanjore Paintings originate in Tanjavur about 300 kms from Chennai. This form of art developed at the height of cultural evolvement during the rule of the Chola empire.
Also Read:

Arts of Indus Valley
Arts of Mauryan Period
Later Mural Traditions


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