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Making of a Tanjore painting | Part #2: Muck application on the board

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:



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Making of a Tanjore painting | Part 1: Preparing the canvas

All art always starts with a blank piece of canvas, in the case of a Thanjavur painting, the canvas is a termite-proof, water-proof piece of wooden board. It is covered with a soft fine cotton cloth, usually mulmul. This process of cleaning the wooden surface, pasting the mulmul to the board without wrinkles or bubbles is the very first step of every Tanjore painting & it takes close to 20 minutes to complete this step.

Watch the first step in making a Tanjore painting in the video here:


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Making of a Tanjore Painting: Video series

Most of us in India have seen a Tanjore painting – proudly displayed in a relative’s pooja room, gracing a restaurant lobby near the cash counter or we are lucky enough to own one. But how many of us know how a Thanjavur painting is actually made? One of the core values of Timeless Tanjore is to encourage intentional living, to think about the purpose of our actions & the value of things in our lives. Knowing how our favorite things are made helps in conscious consumption & increases the connection we feel to the things that we surround ourselves with in our home & life.

To enable you to make mindful purchasing decisions about our Tanjore Painting products, we want to show you how a Tanjore Painting is made from start to finish in our video series.

Part #1 : Making of a Tanjore painting: Preparing the canvas

Part #2: Making of a Tanjore painting: Muck application on the board