Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 4:37 AM
There are several references to the tools and materials of the painter in general Sanskrit literature, wherever there is a reference to painting, in addition to their description in the Silpa texts. Adequate material thus exists to know how and with what aids the artist could produce his beautiful pictures.
It has already been seen that as mentioned in Vatsyayana's Kamasutra the nagaralca has a samudgaka or box full of brushes, a board and an easel. The Mrichchhakatika similarly gives the picture of an artist surrounded by a number of pans containing colours, from which to manipulate his brushes.
Even the window-sill of the painter has colour pans as described in the Padataditaka. Alabus or gourds to contain brushes, attached to picture-boards, are mentioned by Bana in his Harshacharita. Kalidasa refers to a box full of colours varnika karanda samudgakas. In the Dasakurnaracharita and the Ratnavali, there is similar mention of boxes of brushes.
The Abhilashitarthachintamani and other Silpa texts describe brushes and vartikas. Vartikas are variously called tinduvarti or kittavarti, 'stumps' for sketching. The brushes called kurchakas, lekhinis and tulikas are described at length. The vartika also called kittalakhini is prepared out of the sweet-smelling root khachora mixed with boiled rice rolled into a pointed stump. Brick powder mixed with dry cowdung, finely ground, by adding water, was made into a paste to devise similar stump-shaped rolls from sketching. A thin bamboo rod with a copper pin and a small feather attached was known as the tulika.
The tool for applying colours was the lekhini. It was also called a tulika but was composed of soft hair from the ear of a calf fixed with lac. Its thickness varied from broad and light strokes; and a large variety of brushes, large, medium and fine, could be distinguished from the quantity of soft hair composing them. Hair from the squirrel's tail and the belly of the sheep was also used.
The Abhdashitarthachintamani and other texts give an interesting account of the use of these different materials for colour outlines and wash. The wash or akshalana was with the kurchakas, a big brush. The finer tool tulika or salaka was used for unmilana, the final touches to "open the eyes" of the figure.
The painting when executed on a pata or canvas could be rolled and preserved in silken and other covers. The phalaka or board with cloth mounted on it was also used. But the surface most preferred for painting was the wall, bhitti, and bhittichitra was the term for murals.
The colours, either of vegetable or mineral origin, were gairika, red, nil, blue, sudha, white, kajjala, black and haritala, yellow. Vajralepa and nirjasakallca were, respectively, animal and vegetable binding media for the colours.