Tanjore paintings are a great way to beautify the interiors of your homes and are presented as gifts on special occasions. They are an indigenous art form of Thanjavur, in Tamil Nadu. They employ relief work and intense compositions involving religious figures and motifs. Semi-precious stones, pearls and glass pieces further add to their beauty. They are one of the most popular forms of South Indian paintings, which are known for their surface richness and vibrant colours.

This art form is believed to have originated during the 16th century, under the reign of the Cholas. Patrons of these paintings include the Maratha rulers, the Nayakas and the Rajus communities of Tanjore and Trichi and the Naidus of Madurai. The theme of most of the paintings revolves around Hindu gods, goddesses and saints. Some paintings also feature birds, animals and floral patterns. Done on solid wood planks, the main figure is painted in the centre. These paintings are also called Palagai Padam.

The first step to make a Tanjore painting involves drawing the basic sketch of the image on the base, which is made up of cloth and is later pasted on a wooden base. Chalk powder is mixed with a water-soluble adhesive and applied on the base after which the drawing is made and decorated with cut glass and pearls. Some artists also use semi-precious stones and colourful laces to enhance the beauty of Tanjore paintings. The last step involves pasting wafer-thin sheets of gold on some parts of the paintings while the remaining parts are painted using bright colours. The gold used is real 22-carat and remains intact for years and provides a glowing appearance to the paintings in the dark. 

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