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Paintings - Kalamkari

* 1 Sep 2023
Kalamkari, renowned for natural dye art or designs on fabrics, has been registered in the Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) of the Government of India under the Geographical Identification of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
Members of Vegetable Dye Hand Block Kalamkari Printers’ Welfare Association, Pedana received the registration certificate from the GIR, Chennai. In the GI Registration, this art form has, however, been recognised as ‘Machilipatnam Kalamkari’. Pedana is 15 k.m. from Machilipatnam.
According to GIR’s authorised user no - AU/396/GI/19/12, production of Machilipatnam Kalamkari is geographically only limited to Pedana town and its neighbouring villages of Machilipatnam, Polavaram and Kappaladoddi in Guduru mandal of Krishna district.
Source:  Pedana Kalamkari art form gets GI tag by T. Appala Naidu,, August 18, 2013

* 1 Sep 2023
Kalamkari was the name actually given by the Qutub Shahi dynasty. The Nizams called it as Kalamkari otherwise it was known as 'Vraatapani - writing.' In some books, they must have said it as ‘Varta pani’ - Malini Divakala
Source:  Carry on with Kalamkari by Neeraja Murthy (article on Malini Divakala’s research on Kalamkari),, May 26, 2017

* 1 Sep 2023
Black jaggery is the prime ingredient for extraction of black dye by fermenting it for 21 days with iron and salt water. In Kalamkari art, black is considered as the 'mother of all natural dyes' as it is used to extract other colours by adding various natural ingredients.
Source:  Curbs on black jaggery trade spell trouble for Kalamkari art in Andhra Pradesh Premium by T Appala Naidu,, May 30, 2022

*1 Sep 2023
The word Kalamkari literally means Pen-Work. A Persian word, it derives its name from Kalam meaning Pen and Kari meaning work.

* 1 Sep 2023
There are two types of Kalamkari painting: Srikalahasti, which is the freehand drawing style, and Machilipatnam, which is the block-printing technique.

Kalamkari flourished at Kalahasti (80 miles north of Chennai) and at Masulipatnam (200 miles east of Hyderabad).
The Kalahasti tradition which developed in the temple region mostly concentrated on themes form Hindu mythology, epics (Ramayana, Mahabharatha), images of Gods and heroes.
Owing to Muslim rule in Golconda, the Masulipatnam Kalamkari was influenced by Persian motifs & designs, widely adapted to suit their taste. The outlines and main features are done using hand carved blocks. The finer details are later done using the pen.

* 1 Sep 2023
Process of making Kalamkari fabric, involves 23 steps. This involves bleaching Kalamkari fabric, softening it, drying it in sun, preparing natural dyes, air drying and washing. The entire procedure is intricate and requires an eye for detailing. Generally, cotton fabric is used for making Kalamkari; however, silk fabric can also be used. Kalamkari fabric is first treated with a solution of cow dung and bleach. After keeping the fabric in this solution, it gets a uniform off-white color. To avoid smudging of dyes on the Kalamkari fabric, it is also dipped in a mixture of buffalo milk and mylobalans. Kalamkari fabric is then washed twenty times and sun dried. After this, the fabric is ready for printing. Kalamkari designs are then painted on the fabric, by hand.

The process of creating a Kalamkari painting is as elaborate as the delicate and detailed designs - there are 23 meticulous steps that include bleaching, softening and sun drying the fabric; preparing and mixing natural pigments; applying each color individually; and rinsing the fabric between every color application.
The raw materials include cotton cloth, dried unripe fruit and milk to make the ‘mordant,’ charcoal sticks, black kasimi liquid, alum solution and natural pigments in red, indigo and yellow.
The artist uses a finely pointed kalam, or a bamboo pen, dipped in the black kasimi liquid. The kalam is wrapped in wool that holds the liquid, and the artist squeezes this wool to release the ink while painting.
Only natural vegetable dyes are used in Kalamkari. After each application of pigment, the cloth is washed