Tala Patachitra Krishna and Karma Sutra Palm Leaf Painting

This unusual piece of Orissa provence village art consists of strips of dried palm leaf, cut to size and treated with turmeric solution (for its anti-bacterial properties). Once dried, two layers of palm are compressed together, then cut out to form a detailed pattern, then incised with an iron stylus, and finally hand sewn so that the entire panel concertinas down to a thin strip. Lamp black is then rubbed into the surfaces of the panels, then cleaned off to reveal the decoration.

The centre panel depicts Krishna sporting with Gopis. Each of the 14 border panels depicts an important scene from Krishna's life. Each panel opens, from the top and from the bottom, to show a different scene. The top opening panels are all of animals, while the bottom opening panels depict scenes from the karma sutra.

From Raghuragjpur in the Puri District of Orissa (now Odisha). Contemporary.

Measurements: height 40 cm x width 37 cm

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