The traditional mural paintings of Kerala is a fine art of skill and creative excellence. Most of the mural works of Kerala were done between the 15th and 19th centuries. They bear a stamp of uniqueness in skills used and aesthetics.
A mural is an artwork painted or applied directly onto walls, ceilings or any other permanent surface. In murals, architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into its creation. Among murals, the ones from Kerala stand out for their finesse.
The materials used in mural artwork like pigments, brushes, gum etc. are all taken made of natural materials like minerals and plants. The most frequently used pigments in Kerala murals are saffron-red, saffron-yellow, green, red, white, blue, black, yellow and golden-yellow.
It is not difficult to trace the roots of the Kerala mural styles to the more ancient Dravidian art of kalamezhuthu. This was a much more fully developed art form connected with religious rituals. It was a ritual art of sprinkling and filling up different colour powders inside outlines sketched with the powder.
The mural artists of the mediaeval period invariably hailed from the upper castes. They belonged to either the Brahman, Nair or Ambalavasi communities. Although many of them chose to remain anonymous quite a few lane taken care to stake their claims.
With the largest collection of murals based on ancient Indian mythologies, Kerala is at same level with the State of Rajasthan. Some of the Kerala murals date back to the 8th century. Today the trend has shifted from wall murals to those painted on canvas and paper.
An ideal souvenir to be treasured for a lifetime, Kerala murals are a symbol of natural beauty and grace, elegance and simplicity and of religious devotion.