Nirmal town is located amidst the dense forests of Northern Telangana, which is considered as the gifted land of art and crafts, and is popular all over the country.
The art and craft community of craftsmen living in Nirmal are also called as ‘Naqash’. Nirmal Paintings depict the traditional art scenes related to the Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata and other aspects, inspired by nature, birds, animals etc. These paintings were influenced by the Indian Schools of Art like Kangra, Ajanta as well as Mughal miniatures. The evolution of the Nirmal art and craft is also traced back to the old era of Kakatiya dynasty.
It is said that once the Nizam of Hyderabad was accorded a grand welcome when he visited Nirmal. The artisans decorated the venue and the seat of the Nizam in a very grand manner with an intricately designed banana bud which was believed to have been suspended over the Nizam’s seat. This was unfurled while there was a cascade of golden petals showered on him. This led to the Nizam patronizing the artisans, after being impressed by their skill.
Over the last few decades, Nirmal work has been evolving in order to cater to new demands from the customers. There has been a transition from just being painters of the epics to painting motifs in the old Indian school style. The Moghul miniatures are also crafted on soft white wood, called Puniki and they are eventually painted.
The colors used in Nirmal paintings are mostly the familiar gold color. These are produced naturally from the extracts of herbs, vegetable dye, gum, and minerals etc. The paintings depict scenes ranging from the grace of a dancer or a musician’s rhythm to birds, panoramic nature settings etc., and they fully captivate the attention of the viewer.
Nirmal craftsmen also create lacquered furniture, boxes, bowls, large screens, trays, toys, and pictures, which are painted with finesse and attention to detail. In this process, initially lacquering of the wood surface is done followed by painting according to the precise design.
The conventional designs are painted in bright and flat colors and the touch up is done with gold and it is finally varnished. The golden color found in this work is actually extracted from herbal extracts. The Nirmal painting of Mughal miniatures is highly attractive. With aging, they acquire a special muted glow that is considered impeccable.
The process in which Nirmal painting is done varies slightly from making toys. After painting, the plaque is given a coat of Duco paint using the desired background color.
The town of Nirmal has become synonymous with exquisite painting tradition all over the world and is a matter of pride for Telangana. The paintings are gifted as souvenirs by admirers of art and art collectors. Nirmal paintings have been quite popular for many decades and Golkonda, the Telangana State Handicrafts Corporation Limited is making great strides towards promoting a global identity for the one-of-its-kind Nirmal Paintings.