Poompuhar Thanjavur Art Plates

The ancient Thanjavur city of Tamil Nadu, India, is well-known as a center for religion, arts, architecture, culture and history. It has been ruled by many dynasties over the centuries, with each one leaving behind important monuments and temples.

Some of the important art forms unique to Thanjavur are the Thanjavur–style paintings, Thanjavur dolls and of course, the Thanjavur Art Plates. These traditional hand-made plaques are uniquely crafted from brass, copper and silver. In some cases, semiprecious stones may also be embedded. The history of these Art Plates can be traced back to the Maratha Rule during the reign of Rajah Serfoji II (1777-1832) who requested his artisans to create a masterpiece, something totally unique. The Art Plate was the end-result. Crafted by the Vishwakarma community of goldsmiths, these beautifully engraved plates were crafted solely for the purpose of gifting.

The Art plate has motifs that could include deities, birds, floras and fauna or even some geometric patterns. They are mainly used as giveaways or souvenirs these days. They can either be hung on the wall or displayed with a wooden stand or framework carved in the shape of a temple tower. This unique form of artwork has even got its own tag for protection under the Geographical Indication of the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). ‘Thanjavur Art Plate’ is listed as item 63 in the GI Act 1999 of the Government of India. Under this act, the metal compositions and particulars of the Art Plate have to remain constant as per the GI approval; only the size of the plate can be different and doesn’t need to conform to any specific measurements.

These outstanding masterpieces in metal are designed in accordance with Hindu mythology and include highly intricate minute engravings that reflect Thanjavur’s royal heritage. The base plate of this artifact is always brass and intricately engraved silver and copper sheets are embossed on them, giving them a uniquely rich look. This is an inherited art form passed down through generations of goldsmiths and declared as a cottage industry since they are crafted in the homes of the artisans. Interestingly, only men are inculcated for the manufacturing process. The Art Plate Production Center of Poompuhar creates some of the best pieces of this handicraft and any visit to Thanjavur should include carrying back this souvenir.

Getting to Thanjavur is easy as it’s well-connected with excellent highways, railways and an airport in neighboring Trichy. While here, you could stay over at the magnificent Sangam Hotel and experience true Thanjavur hospitality and get royally pampered! Get more information here: https://www.sangamhotels.com/thanjavur/.