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I am collecting Indian Heritage and culture related vintage postcards, paintings, prints etc. and exhibited them at several locations across India in various events and also sharing them with school and college children by giving presentations to them on Indian Heritage and Culture with my collections and also documenting puppetry etc. intangible performances.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Navagunjara ganjifa cards etc.


These are a copy of Intach's Virasat magazine cover printed with the image of "Navagunjara" alongwith some odisha patachitra Navagunjara image printed ganjifa cards which are in my collection.
According to the information about this image in virasat magazine indian crafts can be likened to a Navagunjara, a most interesting and evocative mystic animal in the tradition. One often sees it painted in patachitras of odisha and is also caarved on one of its monuments. It is an amalgamation of different parts of animals that developed around a common impetus to make an object of use, to search for perfection and make beautiful.
According to the information about Navagunjara from wikipedia, quora and also from some other websites as follows:
Navagunjara is a mythical beast, believed to consist of 9 different animals. A very common motif in most patachitra paintings in Odisha. It’s believed to be another avatar of Vishnu, and a variation of the viswaroopa that Krishna shows to Arjun in the Gita. It is more popular though in Odisha, primarily due to the poet Sarala Das, who narrates the legend about it, in his version of the Mahabharat. It’s believed that when Arjun was doing penance, Krishna appeared to him in this form. Basically it has the head of a rooster, has 3 legs of an elephant, tiger and deer. It’s enck is that of a peacock’s, while one arm in raised form is a human carrying the lotus. The tail is that of a snake, while the waist is that of a lion and it has a hump of the bull. It’s believed Arjun initially tried to attack it, but then realized it was another manifestation of Vishnu himself.
The Nila Chakra disc on top of the Puri Jagannath Temple has 8 Nabagunjaras carved on it, and it’s sculpted on the northern side of the temple.
Here are the nine creatures that make it up of a Navagunjara:
1. Head and Neck of a Peacock
2. Crest of a Rooster
3. Hump of a Bull
4. Leg of an Elephant
5. Leg of a Tiger
6. Leg of a Horse (Sometimes a deer)
7. A Snake for the Tail
8. Hand of a Human
9. Waist of a Lion

Ganjifa cards in my collection

These are Ganjifa cards from odisha in my collection. Patachitra artisans from odisha prepared this 120 Ganjia cards set. Ganjifa cards are circular or rectangular and traditionally hand-painted by artisans. Now-a-days Ganjifa is almost on extinction because few people know the traditional ganjifa playing. Ganjifa craft gained in popularity during the times of the Mughals and is a Persian work borrowed from Iran. It is said that Babar and Humayun were its great patrons while Akbar is said to have invited over 150 Ganjifa artists from different parts of the country to embellish his court. Some of the earliest mention of Ganjifa is to be found in Babarnama, Ain-e-Akbari, etc. Some popular Ganjifa cards sets in India are Mughal Ganjifa, Dashavatar Ganjifa, Ramayan Ganjifa, Mysore chad Ganjifa etc. Alongwith these Ganjifa cards set also i have classic book on Indian Ganjifa cards " Ganjifa The Playing Cards of India" written by Rudolf Von Leyden. Art historians and connoisseurs treated this book as reference guide for Ganjifa cards. Sharing some pages of how artisans draw these Ganjifa cards etc. alongwith Ganjifa cards in these photographs.