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Kerala Mural painting

Kerala mural painting is an age-old painting tradition of Kerala, India. These paintings are based on Hindu mythology, which are painted or applied directly onto walls, ceilings or any other permanent surface of temples and churches. The earliest of these murals adorn the walls of the Thirunandhikara Cave Temple in present day Tamil Nadu (the region was once a part of Kerala) and are dated to the 10th century.

The subject matter for the murals were drawn from Hindu mythology and various religious texts. The characters in the murals are coloured according to their characteristics as illustrated in the relevant Hindu mythological scriptures. Spiritual, divine and dharmic characters (satwika) are depicted in shades of green. Those influenced towards power & materialistic wealth (rajasic) are painted in shades of red to golden yellow. Evil, wicked and mean characters (tamasic) are generally painted in white or black.

The Kerala mural paintings follow Fresco Secco technique. Traditionally the painting involves four different processes,
1. Preparation of the ground (granite and laterite walls)
2. Sketching of the outline
3. Application of colours and
4. Addition of decorative details

The materials used in mural art work like pigments, brushes, gum etc. are all taken made of natural materials like minerals and plants. The most frequently used pigments in Kerala murals are saffron-red, saffron-yellow, green, red, white, blue, black, yellow and golden-yellow.

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