The Beauty and Symbolism of Lakshmi Tanjore Paintings

The Beauty and Symbolism of Lakshmi Tanjore Paintings

Tanjore paintings are a classical South Indian art form that originated in the town of Thanjavur (Tanjore), Tamil Nadu. These paintings are known for their rich colours, intricate details, and the use of gold foil and precious gems to create a three-dimensional effect. In this article, we will explore the beauty and symbolism of Lakshmi Tanjore paintings.

Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of wealth, prosperity, and fortune. She is also the wife of Vishnu, one of the principal deities in Hinduism. Lakshmi is depicted as a beautiful woman with four arms, standing or seated on a lotus flower, and often accompanied by two elephants. Her blessings are believed to bring wealth, prosperity, and good fortune to those who worship her.

The purpose of this article is to provide an introduction to the art form of Tanjore paintings and to explore the beauty and symbolism of Lakshmi Tanjore paintings in particular. We will discuss the history and techniques of Tanjore paintings, the significance of Lakshmi as a Hindu goddess, and the symbolism behind the elements commonly found in Lakshmi Tanjore paintings.

The History and Development of Tanjore Paintings

Tanjore paintings have their roots in the town of Thanjavur (Tanjore) in South India, which was the capital of the Chola dynasty in the 16th century. The art form emerged as a way to decorate the interiors of temples and palaces with religious and mythological themes. The paintings were originally created using natural pigments and adorned with precious stones, pearls, and gold leaf to add a three-dimensional effect.

During the 17th century, the Maratha rulers who conquered the region became patrons of Tanjore paintings, which led to the emergence of a new style. The Marathas introduced new techniques such as the use of glass beads and gold foils, which further enhanced the three-dimensional effect of the paintings. The Marathas also encouraged the use of local materials and techniques, which gave the paintings a distinct South Indian character.

Over time, Tanjore’s paintings evolved to include secular themes such as portraits and scenes from everyday life. They also began to use modern materials such as synthetic paints and cardboard as a base, which made the paintings more accessible and affordable to a wider audience. Today, Tanjore paintings continue to be a popular art form in South India, and many artists are exploring new themes and techniques to keep the tradition alive.

The Significance and Symbolism of Lakshmi in Hinduism

In Hinduism, Lakshmi is a highly revered goddess who is associated with wealth, prosperity, and good fortune. She is one of the principal deities in Hindu mythology, and her name is derived from the Sanskrit word “Lakshya,” which means aim or goal. Lakshmi is often depicted as a beautiful woman with four arms, seated or standing on a lotus flower. She is also depicted holding various objects that symbolize her attributes, such as a lotus flower, a conch shell, a pot of gold, or a palm leaf manuscript.

Lakshmi is worshipped during festivals such as Diwali and Navaratri, and her blessings are sought for financial success and prosperity. In Hindu belief, Lakshmi is believed to bring blessings of wealth and good fortune to those who worship her with devotion and faith. Her symbols and attributes are rich with meaning and symbolism, and they are often depicted in Tanjore’s paintings to represent the goddess and her blessings.

The Process of Creating a Lakshmi Tanjore Painting

Creating a Lakshmi Tanjore painting is a meticulous process that requires several materials and tools. The following are the steps involved in creating a Tanjore painting:

Step 1: Sketching the design- The artist sketches the design of the painting on tracing paper, which is then transferred to the base material.

Step 2: Preparing the base- The base material is a wooden plank, which is first coated with a mixture of chalk powder and glue. Once dry, the base is smoothened using sandpaper.

Step 3: Applying the gold foil- The artist then applies a layer of adhesive on the areas of the painting where gold foil is required. The gold foil is then carefully placed on the adhesive and smoothed out.

Step 4: Painting the background- The artist paints the background of the painting with a suitable colour using acrylic or watercolours.

Step 5: Adding details- The artist then adds details to the painting, such as the features of the deity, the clothing, and the ornaments. The details are added using a mixture of chalk powder and glue, which is applied with a brush.

Step 6: Embellishing with stones and beads- Once the painting is complete, the artist embellishes it with stones and beads to add texture and depth.

Creating a Lakshmi Tanjore painting requires a significant amount of time and effort. It can take anywhere from a few days to several months, depending on the size and complexity of the painting. However, the end result is a beautiful and intricate work of art that is highly valued for its cultural and artistic significance.


In conclusion, Lakshmi Tanjore’s paintings are a beautiful and meaningful art form that has been cherished in Indian culture for centuries. These paintings not only depict the goddess of wealth and prosperity but also showcase the skill and creativity of the artists who create them. By understanding the significance and symbolism of Lakshmi in Hinduism, we can better appreciate the artistry and meaning behind these paintings. Furthermore, with the option of customized paintings, collectors can have their own unique and personalized Tanjore paintings created for their homes or businesses. is a great platform to explore and discover the world of Lakshmi Tanjore paintings, as well as other forms of Indian art.

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