Nirmal Paintings are special paintings that use wood as the medium instead of canvas and/ or paper. Nitrocellulose colours (synthetic) and a special gold powder are also used.
Teakwood rippers are first used to form a frame on which the oil-tempered hard board is fixed. After this sawdust paper is used to rub the surface of the board to make it smooth.
The smooth surface is then coated with primer and allowed to dry; this gives the board a better grip. After drying, a coat of Ducor lappam is applied to the board. Once it dries the surface is again rubbed to further smoothen it.
This becomes the background on to which colours like black, brown, yellow are applied depending on the subject.
This artform has been in existence from the early 14th century and was patronised by the Deccan nawabs. It takes its name from the village of Nirmal in Adilabad district. The craft is practised by a group of artisans known as naqash who traditionally paint scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, as well as from Mughal and Kangra miniatures. They work with plain or embossed designs and obtain the indigenous colours from minerals, gum, and herbs. The master craftespersons of Nirmal originally made gold colour from herbal juices. The paintings are in gold on dark backgrounds and are strikingly beautiful. The abundant use of gold adds a metallic richness to the ware. Popular items include jewellery and trinket boxes made of poniki wood, ganjifa boxes, playing cards, and khan chibba (food tray covers). The craft is also practised at Hyderabad. A large variety of products, including furniture, screens, panels, wall plaques, lamp stands, bowls, cigarette boxes, trinket boxes, and ashtrays, are made.