ancient traditional temple art of Kerala, decorating the walls
of the famous temples since centuries.
The colors selected by the artists had a direct bearing on the characters portrayed. According to ancient texts there are three broad qualities assigned to superhuman, human and sub human beings, viz Satwa (the noblest), Rajas (the active and middle principle) and Tamas (the dark and destructive principle) respectively.
The colors are all organic and herbal or vegetable dyes, fruit extracts, and minerals, powdered stones etc. are used as paint. The paintings are top coated with pine resin and oil. This gives the paintings a glazy look and also protects them for a long time. The outlines were made of cow dung pencils called Kittalekhini and then the colors filled in. Grass blades and tree roots are generally used as brushes
Preparation of the wall is of extreme importance and great care is to be taken in this process.
To represent Satwik quality green and shades of green were used. Characters of a Rajasik quality were portrayed in red or golden and the Tamasik nature of the gods were represented not by black but in white, white demons and demonesses were represented by black.
The creators of these pictures no doubt had undergone rigorous mental disciplines or sadhana.