Saturday, August 15, 2009

KALAMKARI, an art from South India :)

Kalamkari = kalam + kari
kalam means pen and kari means craftmanship, so Kalamkari means drawing with pen. But here I'm not discussing about pen/pencil drawing, but I want to tell you all about this truely amazing textile-printing technique.

This craft started at Machilipatnam in Andhra pradesh (India) during the Mughals and Golconda Sultanate. There are two styles of this art: one Srikalahasti Style, and the other Machalipatnam Style. Kalamkari art has been practised by many families in Andhra Pradesh and has constituted their livelihood.

It refers to a method of painting natural dyes onto cotton or silk fabric with a bamboo pen or kalam, using only natural dyes. This style includes flowers around temples and their patronage and have had areligious identity - scrolls, temple hangings, chariot banners, depicted deities and scenes taken from the great hindu epics - Ramayana, Mahabarata, Puranas and the mythological classics.

The cotton fabric gets its glossiness by immersing it for an hour in a mixture of myrabalam (resin) and cow milk. Contours and reasons are then drawn with a point in bamboo soaked in a mixture of jagri fermented and water; one by one these are applied, then the vegetable dyes. After applying each color, the Kalamkari is washed. Thus, each fabric can undergo up to 20 washings. Various effects are obtained by using cow dung, seeds, plants and crushed flowers.


  1. OMG.. how beautiful.. I love the details on your post!!

  2. Thank you so much for this post, the images are too beautiful and your description of the process was fascinating. I was lucky enough to find a marvellous painting in this style in a government handicrafts shop in Kolata which featuring Saraswati. But it's so nice to know more about the creative process. Peace

  3. Sonam madam

    Very good and detailed information on Kalamkari paintings with beautiful images.

    Madam this is my Kalamkari paintings message which i shared on my Heritage of India blog.

    Madam i am sharing my knowledge on Indian Heritage and Culture with college and school students by exhibiting my collections to them. So far i gave 2 seminars on Indian Heritage and Culture to students. Below are my seminar message links.

    Sonam madam please explore my blog on Indian Heritage and share your comments.

  4. hey..this was a very informative an architecture student doing my thesis on textile museum and the info u hv on the variety of textiles will be very helpful in my data collection process..if u cn spare some time for me please reply me on

  5. such a lovely design, i always love to buy kalamkari sarees online. This sarees is very comfortable to wear and gives you a decent look. Thanks for great designs.


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