Kalamkari or textile is a type of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile, produced in Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Only natural dyes are used in Kalamkari and it involves twenty three steps.
textile or ghalamkari
There are two distinctive styles of kalamkari art in India – Srikalahasti style and the Machilipatnam style. The Srikalahasti style of Kalamkari(Kalankari), wherein the “kalam” or pen is used for freehand drawing of the subject and filling in the colors, is entirely hand worked.
This style flowered around temples and their patronage and so had an almost religious identity – scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners and the like, depicted deities and scenes taken from the Hindu epics – Ramayana, Mahabharata, Purana and the mythological classics. This style owes its present status to Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay who popularized the art as the first Chairperson of the All India Handicrafts Board.
In ancient times, groups of singers, musicians and painters, called chitrakars, moved from village to village to tell the village dwellers, the great stories of Hindu mythology.
They illustrated their accounts using large bolts of canvas painted on the spot with simple means and dyes extracted from plants. In the same way, one found in the Hindu temples large panels of kalamkari depicting the episodes of Hindu mythology and iconography, similar to Buddhist Thangka paintings.
As an art form it found its peak in the wealthy Golconda sultanate, Hyderabad, in the Middle Ages. The Mughals who patronized this craft in the Coromandel and Golconda province called the practitioners of this craft “qualamkars”, from which the term “kalamkari” evolved.
The Pedana Kalamkari craft made at Pedana nearby Machilipatnam in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, evolved with the patronage of the Mughals and the Golconda sultanate. Owing to the said patronage, this school was influenced by Persian art under Islamic rule.
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