Nirmal Painting

Nirmal Painting


Etymology: This art form traces back to the 14th century, it is said that Nirmal paintings were named after someone named Nimma Naidu who ran small workshop manufacturing weapons for war. Among the workmen were artisans who adopted wood-carving and painting portraitures. Hence, the name Nirmal was given to this art form. 

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

Location: These lacquered woodwork paintings today 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 to the extent that they were patronized by their skill and art. This art form can be traced back to the 14th century, which is around the time the ‘Kakatiya’ dynasty reigned, they encouraged Nirmal paintings which had 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 always been considered a gifted land related to art and crafts. The paintings capture the rustic ethos of the splendid royal environment, and right from flora to fauna, there are an explicit array of beautiful expressions which are portrayed in myriad colours 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 begins with influences from religious scriptures and Puranas.

Understanding the Art

Nirmal Painting

Style: The women are portrayed with fluidity and grace with soft monotoned facial expressions which highlights this art. A golden border for decoration is always added as it binds the painting together forming 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 Mughul 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 either by cooperative or government-run stores