India | Punjab

Mohra Qashi

Fresco Painting Embellishing a Gurdwara

Mohra Qashi is a style of fresco painting employed on the walls of a gurdwara. This art-form is reputed for its detailed work and long lasting durability.

The process involved in Mohra Qashi is rather complex and requires a lot of expertise. The images to be painted are first traced on a sheet of thick paper. A series of even distanced holes are made on the paper to mark the images. The wall on which the actual paintings are to be made, is treated with lime plaster. On this layer, another coating of white plaster, prepared from ground and roasted marble, is applied. The images drawn on the paper are transferred to this wet plaster coating using charcoal dust. Colors are applied to the wall paintings using a small wooden shovel called ‘nehla.’ The colors have to be constantly pressed until they set into the wet plaster. Once the plaster dries, the colors become permanent. Further enhancement is done to the paintings using additional color coatings. The wetness of the plaster is maintained throughout the painting process.

The colors used for the paintings are prepared using powders of stones, marbles, burnt coconut shell and similar natural materials. The colors, except green, are treated with a shade of white color. Green color is mixed with yellow clay. The colors are always kept wet during their storage in earthen containers. The brushes used in the paintings are prepared using the hairs of squirrel, goat or camel.

Updated on 7th June, 2005


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