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Silk painting

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Silk Painting

The technique of silk painting used in order to embellish and protect silk can be traced back to the 2nd century AD in India. Silk was at that time the most used painting support before canvas or paper were used. Silk paintings have always been created on white silk.

In Cambodia, silk paintings often reproduce frescoes decorating pagodas. These artworks are colourful mural decorations that depict everyday life in Cambodia but can also be inspired by tales referring to Hindu mythology such as the epic of Ramayana. If you have time to visit Wat Bo pagoda in Siem Reap, you will enjoy interpreting the frescoes on the walls and discover the Khmer people’s life and their representations.

To make completely by hand a silk painting is a process which should be done by talented artisans in order to avoid any defect.At the beginning of the process, silk painting artisans have to set the silk material which will serve as a base for painting on a frame of a predetermined size.Then, craftsmen and women start to draw the motifs of the artwork on the silk material by the means of a tracing paper and a pad.

Once the preparation stage is over, colours are applied by hand on the silk material following the drawn motifs and then the finishing is done with a painting brush. Certain ornamentations are heightened by a gilding operation which uses copper leaves.

The duration of the hand production of silk painting varies according to its size: one week is needed for a small silk painting and medium ones require from two to four weeks of work. It even takes up to two months for bigger ones!

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