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Preparation of Brushes by Miniature Painting Artists

Article of the Month - June 1999
Viewed 20744 times since 2nd Oct, 2008

The artists prepare the brushes themselves and prepare them with such dexterity that if the hands are balanced even a bit, the line would not break or shake. Any line drawn would be smooth and forceful and the onlooker would be compelled to praise it.

In Sanskrit the word Tulika is used for brushes. The artists in their ordinary language call it Kalam. It is worthwhile noting here that the different styles of paintings are also called as Kalam, viz. - Bundi Kalam, Kangra Kalam, Shah Kalam, etc. Kalams of different thicknesses are chiefly prepared for different types of works and from different types of bristles. The thick or medium size Kalam is required to fill colors in the painting.

The brush is prepared from the hair present in the ears or tail or soft hair on any part of young goat or from the hairs of the ears of cow or calf or from the hairs of the tail of a mongoose. For doing quality work, brush is made from hairs of squirrel's tail. For this purpose, a squirrel is put into a cage. Then a big cloth is wrapped round the door of the cage. The cloth is left loose two feet from the cage. Now the gate is opened and the squirrel is made to leave the cage and enter the cloth. When this is accomplished the gate is closed and the cloth wrapped in such a manner that it can run but cannot escape. Now its neck is caught carefully with the first two fingers and the body trunk with thumb and the third finger. By catching the squirrel in this manner its mouth, tail, and legs do not get pressed and it can breathe freely. Now the tail hairs are wetted, and one hair plait after another is made and clipped off. After cutting off requisite quantity of the hair, the squirrel is set free. The points' end of the cut plaits are either tied up then and there or kept wrapped up in a piece of paper. It is important that extreme care is taken so that the squirrel is never killed or harmed in any way.

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