Every region in India is associated with a tale of historical context, which is manifested in the unique art and craft forms, created by the people of the specific region.Thestate of Andhra Pradesh too is known for the sheer variety of art works and craftsmanship and one such exquisite art form is that of ‘Kalamkari’ designs, paintings and priceless print work..
Roots of Srikalahasthi Kalamkari
Kalamkari is a term that has originated from Persian words - qalam (pen) and kari (craftsmanship), which literally means drawing with a pen. In fact, Kalamkari is the art of painting cotton fabrics with a kalam i.e. pen,a sharp pointed pierced bamboo that regulates flow of colour on the fabric. This is reflected in a completely beautiful tradition called Srikalahasthi Kalamkari or Kalamkari Paintings. Kalamkari art is unique as it uses colour medium to portray mythological characters in the form of paintings. The popularity of this exquisite form of paintings was widespread in Andhra region hundreds of years ago. Kalamkari is believed to have originated as a result of the influence of Mughals and Golconda Sultanate rule.
Unique Element of Srikalahasthi Paintings
Andhra Pradesh is quite renowned for this enticing and appealing art form that has fascinated art collectors and inspired researchers to document its making. The major forms are Srikalahasthi in Chittoor district, and Machilipatnam Kalamkari, created in Krishna district.Srikalahasthi Paintings represents a classic style of Kalamkari work, based on the dyed hand-painting of fabrics. It is produced mainly in Srikalahasthi town of Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh. The enhancing effulgence of colours and the characters that emerge on cotton fabric, help create a resplendent spread for the painting. The actual process of Srikalahasthi Paintings consists of seventeen steps. This involves block making, cloth treating, printing, and washing etc.
The rich craft of Kalamkari has mellifluously imbibed the rich and varied design elements of different cultures, representing a unique synthesis of the Hindu and Islamic cultures. The Srikalahasthi style of Kalamkari Painting is used widely for narrating stories from the epics through various means such as scrolls, temple hangings, and also chariot banners.
Srikalahasthi paintings are based completely on the brush while the Machilipatnam style employs the block-printing technique.The popularity of this form of painting has earned worldwide reputation for Andhra Pradesh.The highlight of this craft likes in the richness of these colours which are produced as a result of the rapid absorption of the natural dyes, through a special mordant dyeing process. It is no surprise that these paintings form the backdrop for many religious festivals, processions and related events in many parts of India.
Promoting Srikalahasthi Paintings
Lepakshi, The Andhra Pradesh Handicrafts Development Corporationleaves no stone unturned in promoting the historical art by training skilled artisans and improving revenue generation through better sales. Srikalahasthi Kalamkari was registered for geographical indication from the state, under handicraft goods by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.