The Grand Trunk Road - Decorated Trucks in India and Pakistan

Decorating Techniques   

The truck owner decides how he would like his truck to be decorated, and this usually depends on how much he can afford to spend. It can cost several months’ income to decorate a truck completely. If someone owns a fleet of trucks, then he will want them to be decorated in similar styles.
Each area of the truck uses different decorating techniques. The highest point of the truck, the crown, is reserved for religious images such as paintings of the important Muslim pilgrimage site of Mecca. Since the sides of the truck are the largest areas, they are deemed to be the most important exhibition spaces. The master painter paints different images inside the badges that are already created for him by a junior painter. The master painter uses the theme of nature as his main inspiration. Birds (mainly peacocks, doves, eagles, parrots) and animals (tigers and lions in particular) are very popular. Imaginary landscapes feature snow capped mountains, pine trees, still blue lakes and European style cottages with sloping roofs. The master painters refer to these as ‘sceneries’. Portraits or the eyes of beautiful women also appear regularly, as do flowers and bouquets. Another popular theme is that of travel, with many trucks featuring planes and boats. There are also images of national heroes and movie stars.
The back of the truck usually features one huge image. This could be an animal, a building, a portrait or a mythical figure. There will also be some writing on the truck. This could be the owner’s name and town, slogans of good luck, Urdu poetry or religious verses.

Map link: see where the Muslim pilgrimage site of Mecca is in Saudi Arabia»

Document icon Learning article provided by: Bradford Industrial Museum | 
Photos © Tim Smith

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