Sunday, November 21, 2010

Process of making Ganjifa Cards

The process of making Ganjifa cards was laborious and it involved all members of a family. The first is of course the preparation of the materials required for the painting. Tamarind seeds are soaked in water in an earthen pot and then boiled to get a gummy solution. Rice powder may be added to give a stiffer feel to the canvas. This process known as 'Niryas Kalpa' takes a few days.

After this, two course cotton cloth pieces of the same dimensions are selected and pasted together using this solution. This forms the 'Pata' or the base canvas for the painting. Chalk, clay or stone powder is then mixed with the tamarind solution and applied on both sides of the canvas to give it a semi-absorbent surface coat. After canvas has dried it is burnished first with coarse grain, and then with polished stones to give it a smooth surface. The process of polishing involves many hours of careful work. The result is a canvas with high tensile strength and an excellent surface coat for the intricate lines that are to be made on it.

After the cards have dried, the designs are painted on a white background. The roundels are 4-5 inches in diameter, which can differ in sizes according to customer preferences. The back is painted with a single colour.

In RAGHURAJPUR, the artists paint on their outside walls of their houses.
A well known Ganjifa artist had paint the process of making Ganjifa and its use.

The painted wall outside the house

First step, the preparation of the canvas

When the canvas is ready, it is put under the sun for dryin.
Then it is cut into circular shapes.

The background and the border is coloured

Then the drawings are made and coloured.

After the drawings are done. At last, the cards are polished with varnish
and put under the sun to dry. Now, the cards are ready to be played

This is the scene from ancient times, where brahmins and kings
are playing Ganjifa in their freetime.

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