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With its bold strokes, elongated eyes, painted lips, exaggerated eyebrows, explicit body and hand gestures, strong and voluminous figures, I was drawn to it like a moth to the flame, making this Kerala Mural art collection was one of our pet projects.
Walls where gods and goddesses make love without reservation, where wild combats show people expressing emotions rather strongly, where animals, birds and plants drawn in pictures appear closer to life…have stood bold in the temples of Kerala since ancient times.
Kerala owes its ornate temple architecture and wall paintings to its ancient and extensive spice trade. Strong economy and poets of Bhakti movement like Kulashekhara Alvar, Cherumal Perumal Naynar, Tunchat Ezhuthachan, deeply inspired art forms. They also gave the murals a holistic approach to existence, almost obliterating the thin dividing line between the sublime and the mundane, between religion and art.
Kerala’s mural tradition evolved as a complement to her unique architectural style, originating with the prehistoric rock paintings found in the Anjanad Valley. The finest illustrations of this period are considered to be the Mattanchery Palace panels, depicting the Ramayana and themarriage of Parvati, and the temple paintings at Thrissur, Chemmanthitta and Thodeekkalam. The subjects for murals are typically derived from Hindu religious texts. They recount the Hindu myths and the Kerala forms of worship and lifestyle in the backdrops of flora and fauna.