One of the unique qualities of Tanjore paintings is the relief work depicting our beloved deities in a palace or temple setting, surrounded by pillars, high arches with gorgeous carving & seated in thrones of splendour. These architectural elements are embossed to give the Thanjavur painting a uniquely 3-D feel with textural complexity & depth of vision, you feel as if you are present in the scene with your deity, blessed to share the same space.
To make this relief work in a Tanjore Painting, we must enhance the canvas even more. This is the next step in making Tanjore art.
A paste-like mixture called the muck is applied 4-6 times on the mulmul covered board that we made in the last video. (If you missed it, go here to watch part #1: )
Each time the muck is applied, it is allowed to dry in the air or sun before the next coating. This strengthens the canvas & allows it take on the embossing detail more permanently than if it had been done just on the cloth or canvas. This step takes anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how quickly the muck coating dries & is an important base step that determines the durability of the painting for centuries. A true Tanjore painting artist never hurries or skips this step because her or his diligence at this stage means the devotee or buyer of this Thanjavur painting will be able to cherish this art for decades & it’ll become a heirloom passed down to future generations for centuries.
Once the final coating is completely dried, the board is ready to be the canvas for a beautiful Tanjore painting.
Watch the next step in making a Tanjore painting in the video here: