We are fifty posts old! The number brings with it a milestone and a lot of pride! Our journey has only just begun and yet it seems right to pause for a moment and address this number. Hello FIFTY!
To see Aalayam evolve into something beyond a mere idea that Supriya and I shared brings much happiness. Personally, it is also a guilty pleasure! On many weekend nights, I silently peel myself away from my family and retreat into the quiet recesses of my study to work on a blog post. What joy it is too! I feel blessed to have a platform to express my artistic side! Aalayam speaks to our love of writing as well and often our posts are wordy but if you linger long enough you will see that we write from our heart and consistently bring a lot of passionate energy into our posts. Supriya and I have a robust pipeline with all kinds of beautiful inspirations waiting to be shared and we hope you will stay with us as the next phase of Aalayam unravels.
Fellow bloggers - thank you for letting us bounce ideas with you and for inspiring us, friends and family - thank you for cheering us from the sidelines and dear readers - thank you for propelling us on!
And because the golden 50 deserves a golden post - I will shine the spotlight on Tanjore paintings - an Indian art form with glittering gold! How about that?
|An ethnic vignette brings in some traditional splendor to our home
A shopping stop many years ago took me and my husband to a busy street full of art retailers in Chennai, India. We were novice art collectors back then but somehow we had set our heart on acquiring a Tanjore painting - that was our mission that sweltering afternoon. Baggage and weight restrictions implied we could only buy one maybe two art pieces and therefore the challenge was to pick "the" perfect Tanjore painting among 1000s (yes, that street had several stores carrying atleast 100 paintings each!)
The central subject of the Tanjore painting is a Hindu God/Goddess. Since our acquisition did not have any religious motives, we went back and forth deciding on which deity would suit our decorative needs best. The discussion included the facial expression of the deity- a smile ranked higher than a somber expression (this was the extent of our art appreciation!) Also, in consideration were the finishes - classic or antique or embossed? Then came the colors - luckily, most paintings had the same vibrant color palette with subtle variations. Next, we talked about the frames - the wood, the carvings, the color and so on. My husband wanted to know more about the artists and engaged in detailed discussions on what went into the creation of the paintings. Each piece was uniquely defined by the skill and artistry of the creator. Then we talked about the guilding technique. Six hours later
(I kid you not!) we found ourselves deeply immersed in the fascinating world of Tanjore paintings. The shimmer and shine of the semi precious adornments mesmerized us as we browsed through several aisles worth of neatly stacked Tanjore paintings. Walking from one store to the next and then back to the first one, we channeled our combined enthusiasm towards finding "OUR" Tanjore painting. That day is vividly etched in my memory! Eventually, we narrowed our choices down to two paintings. We wanted to bring them both home. But with a heavy heart and a big sigh I left Venkateshwara behind and brought home our Mahalakshmi.
|Vibrant hues, shimmering embellishments, artistic details - THE TANJORE PAINTING!
|Another corner gets accesorized with art work -the ethnic kind!
Several sources trace this art form back to the 16th century (I know!!, that was a long time ago) and the art flourished under the patronage of the Nayakas of Madurai. If you hear the term Tanjavur Oviyam or Palagai Padam (plank painting) just nod your head knowingly now - they are referring to Tanjore paintings, that's all! For more on Tanjore paintings, over to Wiki.
Since that trip to Chennai, we have added another Tanjore painting to our collection. This one a gift from our dear friends D and K and depicts Krishna playfully serenading Radha on the Jhoola. This painting reminds us of our friendship and the good times spent together.
|Krishna serenades Radha playfully in this rendition and it comes to life in gold foil!
…….and we live with our beloved Tanjore paintings - they are tied to fond memories and our ethnic heritage and make our home OUR HOME.
Do you like our spotlight series? Then I urge you to spend a minute browsing through our archives- we have already featured Warli and Terracotta and more!
Next up - a travel feature. Any guesses on where we are going?
p.s: All images are from my home and are copyrighted by Aalayam