Mysore Chada Ganjifa

Art history/ Historiography, Crafts, Handlooms, Art

Mysore Chada Ganjifa: A Forgotten Royal Card Game

Rao, Geetha

At a recent seminar in Houston on "Royal Legacy: Vijayanagar to Mysore". I was invited, to make a presentation on the craft of Mysore Chada Ganjifa. I featured the work of craftspersons that I have worked closely with, Sudha Venkatesh of Bengaluru and Gurupada H. of Mysuru. Sudha Venkatesh has just won the National Award for excellence in Craft ( 2005) for Ganjifa Art and young Gurupada ( nephew of the famous Ganjifa Raghupathi Bhat) is the winner of the Vishwakarma Award for young craftspersons, awarded by the Crafts Council of Karnataka. 54 year old Sudha , daughter of M. Ramanarasiah, Asthana Chitra Kala Vidaru, Palace Artist at Mysore, between 1947- 1960 and subsequently curator of the Jaganmohan Palace Museum Art Gallery till 1978, has painted ganjifa cards from the age of ten and is ably carrying on the family tradition. Her studio is a mini - museum, exhibiting samples of the major Mysore Chadas that she has painted. Recognising her talent , Kishor Gordhandas, the well known ganjifa collector, commissioned her to finish incomplete sets in Museum collections, in many parts of the world, including the Deutschen Spielkarten Museum in Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany.
Showing me her copy of the Kautuk Nidhi, "Treasure Book of Sports and Pastimes" she explains. "The Katuka Nidhi has details of the 13 Chadas or card games, of Mysore. It gives the names of the card games, number of cards, details of iconography, colour combinations and accompanying slokas." She s...
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