In Hindu Mythology, Navagunjara is a creature composed of 9 different animals. It is considered an avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu. Navagunjara has the head of a rooster, and stands on three feet, those of an elephant, tiger and deer or horse; the fourth limb is a raised human arm carrying a lotus or a wheel. The beast has the neck of a peacock, the back or hump of a bull and the waist of a lion; the tail is a serpent. This picture has been carved by hand on a palm leaf.
ABOUT THE ART
Palm Leaf Painting is amongst the world's most ancient crafts. The art is said to have originated when written communication began. To prepare the palm leaf, the unripe leaves of the palm tree are cut and semidried. They are then buried in swamps for 4-5 days for seasoning and the dried in shade. They are then stitched or stringed together as per the need. At times they are stitched after the etching is complete. Etching is done within lines using an iron pen on leaf strips. The artists of palm leaf etchings capture the themes of Hindu mythological incidents, Gods and Goddesses figures complete with details of hair style and dress, animals, flowers and trees etc.