Traditional Art of India : Thikri

Maniram Dogra, born in 1964, is originally from Himachal Pradesh. Knee towards arts, Maniram started learning painting under Shri Rajendra Singh and Shri Shyam Singh in Jaipur at the age of 15 years. During his art learning and practice, his fascination towards Thikri Art at Amer fort Jaipur inspired him adapt this traditional art practice of Rajasthan. At present he is working as full time thikri and mural artist in Jaipur.

The history of mirror mosaic work popularly known as ‘inlay’ in India goes as back asthe Sheesh Mahal (palace of mirrors) constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in 1631. Adorned with pietra dura (stone inlay) and complex mirror-work of the finest quality creating gleaming effect in the royal halls and courtyards, the Mahals of Rajasthan are a reflection of the sumptuous lifestyle of the Rajput royalty in medieval times.

To replicate the regalia and opulence of the palace, many a rich Marvadi merchants of Shekhawati got numerous skilled craftsmen to embellish their Havelis and mansions with the most exquisite colorful mirrors from Belgium. These architectural beauties painted in rich colors belong to the 18th, 19th and early 20th century.

However, besides beautification some of the logical usages of this art both on theexterior and the interior walls respectively may be visibility and vigilance.

The practice of decorating the walls of the human dwellings with paintings, sculptures, relief works, mirror works is age old, though the expression may be different. Coming to the present day context the mud finished walls of the village households of Rajasthan and Gujarat, the walls of temples and Hotels are decorated with minute colorful mirror chips creating forms like birds, flowers, leaves, vessels and so on….

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