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Arts and Crafts of Tamil Nadu

The graceful arts and crafts of Tamil Nadu have found generous mention in the archives of Kautilya, Pliny and a number of other scholars who were in awe of the soft muslin, fine silk, elaborate ivory work and precious gems like tortoise shells, diamonds, pearls and rubies produced by the state. Lying on the zenith of ancient culture and customs of the erstwhile Pallava, Pandya and Vijayanagar dynasties, Tamil Nadu houses abundant remnants that are a proof of architectural magnificence and cultural blossoming that belonged to that period.

Popular as the ‘Cultural Capital’ of India, Tamil Nadu is extremely well-known for its marvelous temples and other architectural gems. The state rose to prominence primarily because of its well-known and outstanding Tanjore Paintings that flourished at the time of Chola dynasty in ancient Tanjavoor. In this traditional art form, the paintings showcase the embellished form of the sacred deities of the region. The deities in the paintings are festooned with glass pieces, pearls, semi-precious stones, and gold and other vibrant colors. In the modern times, Tanjore paintings look up to human figures, animals, floral motifs and birds as muses.

The art and culture of Tamil Nadu also thrives in its musical instruments that are played during the vibrant festivals of the state. The Kumbu, the Naadaswaram, various lutes and percussion instruments, Thamburas and the Silappadikaaram are some of the popular instruments of Tamil Nadu.

Several Arts and Crafts in Tamil Nadu


Tanjore paintings of Tamil Nadu are a stamp of the rich cultural heritage of India. Done up in effervescent shades and studded with vibrant pearls, semi-precious stones, glass pieces and gold, this art work is a masterwork that is done on bases like ivory, wood, or mica. Tanjore style of painting also drapes the canopies, chandeliers, garlands of ropes, and pillars.

The unique style of these paintings is also a subject of study. In the starting, a wooden board is made. The painting is done on a different unbleached piece of cloth that is later treated with a mix of chalk powder and glue. The drawing then is traced down on the board, trailed by decorations, which is then painted with a mixture of gum and chalk powder for making 3 dimensional style shade effect. The result is simply mesmerizing.


The focal point of cultural spectacle of South India, Tamil Nadu is known for a number of causes, starting from wonderful temples, daunting monuments and, budding art and culture seen in its sculptures, wood crafts and paintings.

Woodcraft has slowly started to pay decent revenue in the art and craft industry of Tamil Nadu. The skilled craftsmen of the state were earlier dependent on patronization from the rulers to earn their livelihood, however, they are now coming in link with able local artisans from local villages whose talent can be seen in a number of artefacts of the region made by them.

The fiber and basket products of Tamil Nadu are popular all around the country and the world because of their aesthetic appeal. Cane, palm trees, reeds, grass and bamboo shoots are used for making wood words and basket products in Tamil Nadu. Coconut fibers and wooden barks are used for making utility products such as mats, ropes, baskets and so on.

Stone Carving

The South Indian state of Tamil Nadu has been celebrated for its excellent stone carvings since the starting of the ancient history of India. This aboriginal craft gained momentum after the culturally advanced rulers of the state became the patrons of the local craftsmen who were able to keep their art form active.

The remnants of stone carvings, granite figures and similar such statues that were found at the time of excavation from the archeological site, all earn a special remark. They have a tale to tell that artistry has been a part of region from prehistoric times. Today Chingleput and Mamallapuram are the two places where granite carving can be seen. These special talent is owned by the skilled craftsmen of local communities Kammaalar and Vishwakarma.


The cultural and artistic splendor of the Tamil Nadu state can be seen in its traditional jewelry pieces. The state is famed for its conventional stone-adorned jewelry pieces including neckpieces, earing, anklets, nose drops, waist belts and bracelets.

Not any woman’s life is complete without owning some lovely sparkling jewelry. During the ancient times in the state, diamonds as well as other precious stones were owned by men as well as women. Those people were ardent believers of the magical powers of the nine gems or the Navaratnas, which were specially worn to ward off the evil eye and pacify the planetary position.

Musical instruments

Art and culture in Tamil Nadu was able to thrive under the patronage of the old Kings who were themselves learned enough to support the ancient craftspeople. In the present times, it is not only the base of livelihood for many but is also a flourishing revenue generating industry.

Traditional music and dance have played an important role in the cultural setting of the state. The result of this was the blooming up of shops and industries making musical instruments. Such shops and centers, in majority, are found around Thanjavur, known for producing some of the most important musicians of the country.


The age-old traditions of India have always been one of the factors giving support to the feeling of unity in diversity. As Tamil Nadu is known to be the cultural capital of the country, it has been the epicenter of fine culture including jewelry, woodwork, painting as well as pottery. The knowledgeable rulers of Pallava, Pandya, Vijayanagar and Chola dynasties always helped the art, craft and culture of South India to flourish. Today, Tamil Nadu is famed for being home to several glorious monuments and temples that are a proof of historical opulence of the country.

At a number of excavation sites in South Indian, archeologists have been able to find the remnants of pottery that was mainly made up of terracotta objects that were painted in an opulent brown color. This pottery is ample proof of the heritage, sophistication and cultural knowledge of the people who lived in India in the ancient times.