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Tanjore painting (Tamil: தஞ்சாவூர் ஓவியம், Thanjavur Oviyam) is an important form of classical South Indian painting native to the town of Thanjavur (anglicized as Tanjore) in Tamil Nadu, India. The art form dates back to about 1600 AD, a period when the Nayakas of Tanjavur encouraged art—chiefly, classical dance and music—as well as literature, both in Telugu and Tamil.

Tanjore paintings are known for their surface richness, vivid colours and compact composition. Essentially serving as devotional icons, the themes of most of these paintings are Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as saints. Episodes from Hindu tradition are drawn upon as elaborations of the main figure or figures placed in the central section of the picture.

Making of Tanjore Painting

Tanjore paintings are panel paintings done on solid wood planks, and hence referred to as palagai padam (palagai = “wooden plank”; padam = “picture”) in local parlance. In modern times, these paintings have become souvenirs of festive occasions in South India, pieces to decorate walls, and collectors’ items for art lovers.

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tanjore
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oil
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