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These paintings are in gold, honey!

MANY PAHARI paintings have real gold and definitely a sweet surface. And all Pahari paintings are an uphill task.To make golden colour, the artists put a tiny piece of gold in a small bottle of honey and keep stirring it for long hours till gold and honey become one. And this special golden colour is used in the Pahari Paintings of Himachal Pradesh. Similarly, to make red colour they use ?sindoor?, to make blue colour they use ?neel?, to colour something black they use ?kaajal?.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2006 00:20 IST

MANY PAHARI paintings have real gold and definitely a sweet surface. And all Pahari paintings are an uphill task.

To make golden colour, the artists put a tiny piece of gold in a small bottle of honey and keep stirring it for long hours till gold and honey become one. And this special golden colour is used in the Pahari Paintings of Himachal Pradesh.

Similarly, to make red colour they use ‘sindoor’, to make blue colour they use ‘neel’, to colour something black they use ‘kaajal’, for obtaining white colour they use ‘khariya’ and ‘shankh’, to get yellow colour they use the cow urine and for various other colours they use colours extracted from flowers.

The guess what makes paint brush that they use? “It’s made of the hair of a squirrels tail,” says an artist.

Himachal Academy of Art, Cuture and Languages Shimla has organised an Art Exhibition that got underway on Tuesday and will go on till Sunday at UP State Lalit Kala Akademi. Fourteen artists from Himachal Pradesh have displayed 48 Pahari paintings in this exhibition. All the paintings have one theme—-‘Radha-Krishna’.

A Himachali artist, Om Sujanpuri tells, “This art dwells largely on the themes and symbols from literature and mythology. A typical Pahari composition consists of several figures skillfully grouped and full of movement and each is distinctive in terms of clothing, hairstyle and even pigmentation.”

Further another artist explains, “The specialty about this art is in its detailing.

We pay a great amount of attention on the detailing of these paintings, sharpness of facial features and rhythm of movements. That is the reason that making one painting sized 16 inches by 12 inches takes almost one month.”

And that is the reason that these small paintings displayed at this exhibition are priced right from Rs 1000 to Rs 15,000.

To save the exquisite art form, these band of artists have now started ‘opening up’. Om Sujanpuri tells, “First this art was passed from one generation in the family to another. But not all the youngs in these traditional art families are interested in this art as it involves a lot of dedication and hard work. But now we have started taking it out from the families. We now teach it to outsiders with the motive to reviving it.”

First Published: Jan 18, 2006 00:20 IST