Tamil Nadu Art and Crafts

There is ample mention of the exquisite arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu in the chronicles of Pliny, Kautilya and other scholars who marvel at the states fine silk, soft muslin, ornate ivory work and precious stones like diamonds, rubies, pearls and tortoise shell. Tamil Nadu, resting at the pinnacle of ancient culture was the erstwhile kingdom of the Pallava, Pandya and Vijayanagar rulers and has ample relics that testify the architectural grandeur and the cultural efflorescence of the period.

Tamil Nadu, India’s cultural capital is renown for its splendid temples and other architectural edifices. The state’s claim to fame lies in its magnificent and renowned Tanjore paintings that thrived in ancient Tanjavoor during the Chola dynasty. The revered and traditional art form depicting the sacred deities is embellished with semi-precious stones, pearls, glass pieces and gold and colored in the vibrant hues. The modern Tanjore paintings however portray floral motifs, animals, birds as well as pretty human figures.

Tamil Nadu’s art and culture also abounds in musical instruments that strike a melodious chord. The Naadaswaram, the Silappadikaaram, the Kumbu, Thambhuras and vcarious lutes and percussion instruments add a musical note to the various colorful festivities of the state.

Various arts & Crafts of Tamil Nadu


The Tanjore paintings are a hallmark of India’s rich cultural legacy. Painted in vibrant shades embellished in colorful semi-precious stones, pearls, glass pieces and gold, they form some of the world’s masterpieces done on surfaces of wood, mica or ivory. The paintings also adorn the ornate pillars, elaborately decorated canopies and garlands of ropes and chandeliers.

The unique style of Tangore paintings is an interesting subject of study. At its very inception, a wooden board is prepared. The paintings are done on a separate unbleached cloth and treated with a mixture of glue and chalk powder. Finally the drawing is traced on the board, followed by elaborate and exquisite embellishments and painted with an amalgam of chalk powder and gum arabica to produce three dimensional stylized shading effect that is truly a sight to behold.

Stone Carving

Tamil Nadu, the center of South India’s cultural extravaganza had exhibited a distinctive brilliance in its stone carvings during the commencement days of ancient Indian history. This primordial craft achieved prominence because of the generosity of the culturally refined ancient sovereigns who patronized the talented local craftsmen and kept the art form alive.

Among the relics of Tamil Nadu’s stone carvings that have been excavated from archeological sites, the granite figurines and statuettes deserve special mention. They narrate a sad tale of the vestiges of time. Contemporary granite carving is confined mainly around Mamallapuram and Chingleput, with the leading sculptors hailing from the local Vishwakarma or Kammaalar communities.


Tamil Nadu, the epicenter of South India’s cultural extravaganza is noted for a multitude of reasons ranging from its splendid temples, imposing monuments as well as an efflorescent art and culture manifested in its paintings, wood crafts and sculptures.

Woodcraft is a burgeoning revenue generating industry in Tamil Nadu. The state whose skilful craftsmen once depended upon the patronage of the ancient monarchs to earn their livelihoods is now teeming with talented local villages and artisans whose expertise is manifested in the variety of indigenous artifacts created by them.

Tamil Nadu’s basket and fiber products are aesthetically appealing and very much in vogue all over the country and abroad. Palm trees along with bamboo shoots, cane, grass and reeds form a major ingredient of Tamil Nadu’s wood works and relate basket products. Besides the wooden barks, the coconut fibers are used to make common utility products like baskets, ropes, mats and other miscellaneous items.


Tamil Nadu abounds in cultural splendor that is manifested in its efflorescent art and culture. The state has reached the zenith of cultural excellence and is noted for its traditional stone-encrusted jewelry that consists of earrings, nose drops, neckpieces, waist belts as well as anklets and bracelets.

No woman’s trousseau is complete without a dash of sparkling jewelry. In ancient Tamil Nadu, diamonds and other precious stones were a man and woman’s best friend alike. The people firmly believed in the magical wonders of the navaratnas or the nine gems that supposedly warded of the evil and magnified the favorable aspect of the planetary positions.

Making musical instruments

The art and culture of Tamil Nadu flourished under the benefaction of the ancient monarchs who were lovers of art and patronized the ancient craftsmen. Today it is a thriving revenue-generating industry and a source of livelihood of many.

Music and dance dominate Tamil Nadu’s cultural scenario. A natural ramification of this led to the establishment of musical instrument making shops and industries. A vast majority of these centers are situated around Thanjavur, which has produced some of the country’s leading musicians.


India, a country where an underlying sense of unity abounds in diversity has a deep-rooted sense of tradition. Tamil Nadu, in southeast India occupies the pinnacle of the country’s fine culture with its abundant traditional pottery, woodworks, paintings and jewelry.

South Indian culture, art and crafts flourished under the benefaction of the generous and intellectual rulers of the Pallava, Chola, Pandya and the Vijayanagar dynasties. Tamil Nadu, the country’s cultural hot seat is renown for its magnificent temples and monuments that recount a tale of the country’s historic grandeur and majestic splendor.

Archeologists have excavated relics of South Indian pottery. They are mainly made of terracotta moulds painted in a rich brown color. The ancient pottery reflects the country’s legacy as well as the sophistication and cultural refinement of the ancient people.

Last Updated on 1/17/2011