KALAMKARI SPICED UP

by Shatika, March 11, 2016

In ancient times, groups of singers, musicians and painters, called chitrakattis, moved  from village to village to tell the village dwellers, the great stories of Hindu myth. Progressively, during the course of history, they illustrated their accounts using large bolts of canvas painted on the spot with rudimentary means and dyes extracted from plants. Thus, the first Kalamkari had had been born. In the same way, one found in the Hindu temples large panels of Kalamkari depicting the episodes of Indian mythology, akin to the stained glass work in churches.

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As an art form it found support from the Golconda Sultanate. 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. Kalamkari art has been practiced by many families in Andhra Pradesh and over the generations have constituted their livelihood. It was a major source of trade and commerce mainly in the province of Andhra Pradesh . Sri Kalahasti and Machilipatnam were the two major centres of Kalamkari work.Water being the main requirement for the Kalamkari work.Sri Kalahasti emerged as a major centre as it had a ready supply of water from a river. Thus indian textiles found their way into the spice trade in ancient India.

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