10:22 AM

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Kalamkari art form which was once-flourishing is now struggling for survival in contemporary times due to the rise of power looms, escalating raw material costs.

About Kalamkari: 

  • It is a highly popular form of hand-painted or block-printed cotton textile and paintings, practised in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Kalamkari came up as a textile tradition during the reign of Qutb Shahis at Golconda in the 16-17th century.
  • The art form originated in Tilang, the region between what is present-day Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • “The word ‘Kalam’ meant pen, while ‘Kari’ meant craftsmanship.
  • There are two distinct styles of Kalamkari - Srikalahasti and the Pedana style Kalamkari
  • Pedana style Kalamkari
    • It is also known as Machilipatnam style which involves vegetable dyed block-painting of a fabric.
    • The artist prints the outlines as well as the main features of his designs with hand-carved wooden blocks.
    • It is Persian in character because of the patronage and proximity to the Mughals and the Golkonda Sultanate.
    • The traditional block prints in this art largely use motifs such as interlacing patterns of leaves and flowers, the cartwheel, different forms of the lotus flower etc.
    • This style has received the Geographical Indications tag.
  • Srikalahasti’s style
    • Srikalahasti’s style involves using a traditional pen with a brush to draw the designs.
    • The Srikalahasti artisans restricted themselves to making a hand-painted cloth that was primarily used in temples, to either hang it behind the deity or on a chariot.
    • Theme: Mythological figures became the theme of the art that originated in the temple town.

Q1: What is the Geographical Indication (GI) tag?

It is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. This is typically used for agricultural products, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks, handicrafts and industrial products.

Source: Tradition in tatters: Kalamkari colours fading in A.P.’s Pedana