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Treasure Trove by Pondichéry
Zari Embellished Vintage Oleographs by Ravi Varma Press & Others




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THE STORY
In the late 19th century, after celebrated Indian artist Raja Ravi Varma set up the first press to produce lithographs of his most iconic works, the prints of Gods and Goddesses became an integral part of household shrines across India. His iconic Lakshmi and Saraswathi were found in almost every south Indian Hindu home. Then the early 20th century women from Chettinad, a region in Tamil Nadu famous for it's palatial mansions and rich cuisine, began decorating these lithographs with zardozi embroidery and glitter work, often clothing the deities. This collection of embellished prints including those from the celebrated Ravi Varma Press and other presses range from the early 20th century to mid 20th century. These colourful prints became so famous that the prints were also exported to Burma to be embellished there and brought back to be sold in India. So they were also known as Burma prints. Oleography was a technique used for large scale quality color printing. It is litho-printing (printing with stone) but with more color palettes, using large number of stones. Use of oil gave the prints more quality ('oleo' in latin means 'oil').