This painting is called Navagunjara. This art originate in Orissa called Pattachithra. I am learning this art .This story is very less known trope from the Mahabharata. Once, when Pandavas were in vanaprastha (in exile to forest). Arjuna encountered a strange composite being which is a combination of nine different animals. It is a part rooster, part lion, part snake, part peacock, part elephant, part bull, part deer, part horse and part human. It was a Navagunjara.
- Arjuna was mesmerised but felt equally frightened and unsettling to look at this complicated being. He raised his bow deciding to shoot at it. That is when he hears a voice, an Ashareeri (an anonymous voice) telling “What cannot exist in the human imagination, can exist in the imagination of the Universe. So lower you bow, submit to it”. As Arjuna is hearing, he sees the creature is picking up a lotus, holding in its hand and turning towards him, asking “Don’t you recognise me?”. Arjuna suddenly realises that he knows this form, it is Krishna. Arjuna drops down his weapon, bows before the Navagunjara, realising it in the form of Mahavishnu.Arjuna bowing to Navagunjara.This story can be found in the Odia Mahabharata written by Saaraladas in the 15th century. It is also associated with Puri Jagannath temple and can be seen in its temple art. It is interesting how a form or being that is a composition of nine different species is considered to be divine but not a monster .Navagunjara:Nava = 9 , Gun = Quality , Jara = Old / PraisSo probably the creature depicts 9 qualities – and it could be used as a praise, you are awesome as the Navagunjara 🙂
#navakunjara #pattachitraart #blackandwhite #Brushart