Kalamkari Paintings, the Ancient art of India

Kalamkari Paintings Introduction:

Kalamkari Paintings are the famous hand painting style, and the pictures in Kalamkari style are passionate art lovers. The images are drawn on cotton or silk fabric with a tamarind pen or natural dyes. ‘Kalamkari’ is Persian; Kalamm means cell, and Kari means craftsmanship. The painting style and the process of painting the pictures very

kalamkari paintings

Difficult. To bring the complete form of the painting, the artist follows 23 tedious steps of dyeing, bleaching, block printing, searching, and more processes should follow. The pictures on the clothes mostly adopted from the themes of Hindu epics Mahabharata and Ramayana, and the flowers, peacocks and other divine characters were also painted on cloth in the Kalamkari process.

History of Kalamkari Paintings:

Kalamkari Paintings have more than 5000 years of history; the first Kalamkari art was 3000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. In those days, people, especially folk singers and painters, had been travelling from one village to another and performing their skills before the village people. They mainly narrate the stories of Hindu mythologies, and those telling stories transformed into canvas paintings. The archaeologists found evidence of Kalamkari paintings at the sites of Mohenjodaro.

Kalamkari During Mughal Rule:

In later years, the Kalamkari Paintings lost their glory. Again during the Mughal emperor, the art of Kalamkari gains its recognition. Hence the Mughal emperors encouraged the artists and promoted this art in the Golconda and Coromandel provinces. The Golconda sultanate encouraged artisans in a wide range, and this art flourished at Machilipatnam in the Krishna district of A.P. Still, many families are continuing this art and earning their prime source of livelihood.

kalamkari paintings
Preparing the Kalamkari Art Forms:

Usually, Cotton fabric is used for Kalamkari. First, the artists keep the material in cow dung and bleach liquid for hours; then, the material gets white. After this, the cotton fabric was immersed in a mixture of buffalo milk and Myrobalans. After some time, the fabric was washed in the running water to remove the smell of buffalo milk and cow dung. This process continued many times and dried under the sun. Then the artist sketches the designs and applies the natural colours within the drawings.

Natural Colours for Kalamkari Paintings:

The artists prepared the colours from natural sources, not using chemicals to get colours for Kalamkari Paintings. The prime colours are indigo, mustard, rust, black and green. The artists prepare the black paint from jaggery; yellow is derived by boiling pomegranate peels, red from algerine, blue is obtained from indigo, and green colour obtained by mixing yellow and blue colours.

kalamkari paintings
Kalamkari Paintings in Andhra Pradesh:

There are two types of Kalamkari paintings in India: one Srikalahasti style and another one Machilipatnam style. Srikalahasti’s style of painting is beautiful and inspiring. The art themes are adopted from Hindu mythology describing scenes from the epics and folklore. The city Srikalahasti is a religious place, and famous temples are also situated, so the themes of the Kalamkari Paint strongly connect with the Hindu religion.
In the Machilipatnam style of Kalamkari, the fabric and motifs are printed with hand-carved traditional blocks. Now two different design patterns are followed by the Artists—the Andhra artists prepared the themes by observing India’s forts, palaces, and temples. The Gujarat Kalamkari artists adopt the mythological character from Mahabharata and Hindu deities.