India | Andhra Pradesh


Kalamkari is a traditional craft of Andhra Pradesh. It is the craft of painted and printed fabrics, which are used in clothing and wall decorations. Machilipatnam and Kalahasti are famous for this type of art.

The word 'Kalamkari' is derived from two words -'Kalam', meaning pen, and 'kari', meaning work. A peculiar feature of this art is the extensive use of vegetable dyes. The motifs used in wall hangings are mainly from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Block-painted textiles by hand are also produced.

The process of dyeing and hand printing are very complicated. Each design will take several days of intense effort to complete. The outline plans of Kalamkari are block printed. Then the designs from mythological tale fill in with a quill. After this the cotton is colored with vegetable-extracted dyes. The main traditional colors used in Kalamkari are red, yellow, green and blue.

Kalamkari wall hangings, bed sheets and other prints are famed all over the world. The masterpieces of Kalmkari are also kept in international museums.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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