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Art and Craft

Indian Art and Craft – Kerala Murals

Indian Art and Craft – Kerala Murals

Mural is a vibrant painting or artwork depicting themes of Hindu Mythology, Epics and Legendary Heroes of the bygone era. It is done directly on a surface using vivid colours. Normally Murals are painted on walls or ceilings of Temples and Churches in South India.

The Mural paintings in the Padmanabha Swamy Temple at Thiruvananthapuram, Mannarkad Maha Vishnu Temple, Krishnapuram Palace near Kayamkulam are some of the famous ones. Many of the main temples in Kerala have Mural paintings.

Mural paintings in Kerala dates back between 9th and 12th centuries CE. The rulers at that time encouraged and promoted this art form. Sanskrit texts are base for the Mural paintings.

The liveliness of the images, bold strokes and the vivid colours bring the Murals attractive. The colours used normally are Ochre (ranges in colours from yellow to deep orange or brown), Red, Bluish Green, White etc. Ochre is belongs to the family of earth pigments.

The Mural painting technique involves four stages or processes.

  1. Preparation of the surface (walls or ceiling)
  2. Sketching the outline
  3. Application of colour
  4. Addition of decourative details

The traditional Murals used basically five colours red, yellow, green, black and white and are prepared from vegetables and colour pigments. The wall is painted white. The characters are coloured according to their characteristics as depicted in the Hindu mythology.

You can see Mural paintings in these famous temples.

  • Guruvayur Krishna Temple
  • Vaikom Shiva Temple
  • Ettumanoor Shiva Temple
  • Vadakkunnathan Temple in Thrissur
Picture used for illustration only – Credit: Flickr – NoĆ© Alfaro

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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