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The Ganjifa Art

First Online: February 16, 2002
Page Last Updated: May 09, 2017

K.L. Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
Laxman meets Valis wife Tara
Laxman meets Vali's wife Tara
Mythological Painting on Ganjifa Card

The Ganjifa (a.k.a Ganjipha, Ganjeepha etc.,) cards have a history of more than 300 years. Ganj is a Persian word meaning "treasure", "treasury" or "hoard". Moghul emperor Babur wrote in his memoirs -- "the night we left Agra, Mir Ali the armor was sent to Shah Hasan in Tatta to take him playing cards (ganjifa) he much liked and had asked for." Babur's son Humayun also enjoyed playing these cards which were also very popular in Akbar's time. A pack of ganjifa cards consists of ninety-six cards with eight suits of twelve cards each (comprising the numerals one to ten and two "Court" or trump cards). They are generally circular and made of ivory, tortoise shell, thin wood or hard board material. Dancing, hunting, worshipping, playing chaupar (board game used for gambling) and processions are some of the subjects painted on the cards.

K.L. Kamat/Kamat's Potpourri
Painting of a Lion on a Ganjifa Card
Painting of a Lion on a Ganjifa Card
Jaganmohal Palace Museum, Mysore

See Also:



The Arts of India
Arts of India

Romancing Couple -- Painting by Raja Ravi Varma.Man-Woman -- A piece from Salarjung MuseumA Romantic Couple, JinanathapuraGoddess Saraswati in a Tanjore style paintingMythological PaintingUse of Eagles as MessengersElephant Headed Ganesh in a Tanjore Gesso Painting
Painting on a Peepal Leaf Feeding of Lord KrishnaLord Indra riding the Airavat, the eight trunked elephantA Spectacular Mixed Metal Sculpture of ArdhanarishwaraBodhisatva with a Lotus in HandSolitary MaidenBronze Statue of a Dancer
Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1774-1833)The Girl from MalabarGaruda Carrying GayatriLaxman meets Valis wife TaraCouple Rides Camel on a Sand-duneTemple on Wheels (Ratha)Hindu Mythological Figure Rawana, Leather Puppet
The Teaching of Bhagawad-GitaBlind folded Gandhari and a Maid on Balcony<br>by Nandalal BoseMan Fondles Two Women on a SwingPainted Leather Puppet of HanumanNawab and coterieNawab and a CourtierPainted Leather Puppet of Kamadhenu the Cow
Water Color Painting by Mukta VenkateshBhishma Lies on the Bed of Arrows<br>A Rangoli PaintingArt By AccidentAccidental ArtMystery Picture!Horse Pulled Cart - Painting by Jamini RoyRomance of Lord Vishnu and Wife Laxmi<br>Indian Red Mural
Bronze Statue of Shiva -- Chola Period (1000 A.D.)Way to NanjanaguduPainting of a Lion on a Ganjifa CardArt of Prehostoric ManGeometric Designs on Palm LeafA Wall Mural from KarnatakaPainting by M.F. Husain

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