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Priceless pieces


Beautifully etched... Pic. by K. V. Srinivasan

KALAMKARI, THE ancient art of the stylus, which goes back to Vedic times as an art form, reached its apogee of excellence as an exquisite hand painted temple art during the Vijayanagar Empire. Beautiful backdrops to temple deities were done in cloth, featuring scenes from the Epics that were unmatched in their detailing and the use of lyrical colours. After a near degeneration of the art form by the first half of the last century, began a resurrection and revival, which has again taken Kalamkari back to its pristine purity and beauty. The `Srikalahasti Kalamkari Kalaakar Sangha' has played a signal role in the revival of this timeless craft, which today embellishes saris, dupattas and wall hangings as well as panels etc.

Currently on at CP Arts Centre, 45 Eldams Road, Alwarpet, is a priceless selection of Kalamkari craft items done by master craftsmen and trainees of the `Srikalahasti Kalamkari Sangha'. The craftsmanship is unparalleled with beautifully etched figures and objects and a lyrical flow of events such as Ramar pattabhishekham. While the wall hangings portray vignettes from the Epics as well as images of gods and goddesses, the Tree of Life etc. the saris and dupattas derive from the floral and vine theme. Done in vegetable dyes in varied colours — blue, red, yellow and white — every item on display conveys the mellow, rich and earthy feel of natural dyes. Master craftsmen from Srikalahasti are present to demonstrate the fascinating process of Kalamkari craft. The exhibition cum sale ends on July 29.

PUSHPA CHARI

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