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Nirmal Painting


Etymology: It is believed that Nirmal paintings were named after someone called Nimma Naidu who ran a small workshop manufacturing weapons for war. Artisans who adopted wood-carving and painting portraitures also worked at his workshop. Hence, the name Nirmal was given to this art form. 

Origin: This art form emerged from Nirmal, a tribal-inhabited town of the Adilabad district of Telangana. 

Location: Today, these lacquered woodwork paintings are made in Hyderabad and Nirmal.

Relevance: This art form was practised in the 14th century by the Naqash community. The Mughals admired these paintings and were huge patrons of this art form. It dates back to the 14th century, around the time the ‘Kakatiya’ dynasty reigned. Kakatiya rulers encouraged Nirmal paintings, which contained themes of mythological, religious epics along with folk narratives. 


Significance: It was in the 1950s that Lady Hyderi brought these artisans to the princely state of Hyderabad and promoted their craft.

Culture and Societies: Nirmal town in Telangana has long been renowned for its artistic and craft traditions. The paintings from this region capture the rustic ethos of the magnificent royal environment. From flora to fauna, they depict a vivid array of beautiful expressions using a myriad of colors and attractive forms on Nirmal products.

Religious significance: Nirmal paintings are heavily influenced thematically by the Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata. The central theme of these paintings traditionally draws inspiration from religious scriptures and Puranas.

Understanding the Art

Nirmal Painting
Image credits: D'source

Style: The women are portrayed with fluidity and grace, characterized by soft monotoned facial expressions that distinguish this art. Additionally, a golden border for decoration is always added, serving to bind the painting together and create a finished piece.

Central motifs: Traditionally, Nirmal artists painted scenes from the Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata, and some of the themes were influenced by Ajanta and other Mughal art as well.

new outlook

An artisan-run organisation known as the Nirmal Toys and Arts Industries Cooperative Society Ltd. was established to revive this art, and the products were sold through cooperative or government-run stores.

Nirmal Painting blogs