Ganjapa a traditional card game of Odisha: Ganjapa is an Odia term that is believed to be related to “Ganjifa” (originated from the Persian word Ganjife) that was popular by the Mughal emperors. Ganjapa is a traditional card game that originated and played in Odisha. The Ganjapa card is one of the incredible examples of the great Odia artworks. It is played with circular-shaped Pattachitra painted cards.
The game is Originated in the 16th century, Ganjapa is a recreational game for male members of the Odia society, primarily villagers, kings, and their courtmen. Ganjapa is played as “Charirangi” (cards of 4 colors), “Atharangi” (cards of 8 colors), “Dasarangi” (cards of 10 colors), “Bararangi” (cards of 12 colors), “Chaudarangi” (cards of 14 colors) and “Sohalarangi” (cards of 16 colors). The variation of this game influenced by the Persian card game Ganjifa is known as “Mughal Ganjifa”. The game is mostly played & famous in Puri and Ganjam district of Odisha.
The artworks used on Ganjapa cards are Pattachitra paintings & the making of Ganjapa cards is also similar to that of Pattachitra. Various layers of glue made by grinding tamarind seeds are pasted on cloth are applied and dried. Circular-shaped cards then are carved using hollow iron cylinders.
Two circular sheets are joined together to make a card. After drying natural dyes made of lac, limestone (for white color), coal-carbon (for black), and tamarind (for yellow) are used to paint figures. Pattachitra motifs and patterns with figurative representations of dancers and other people, and of the Ramayana, Dasavatara of Hindu god Vishnu, and other deities of Hindu mythology are painted on the round cards. Artworks always have traditional Odishan art and vary from region to region and community to community in Odisha. Ganjapa artwork from Ganjam varies from that of Puri.
Ganjapa has names Eka, Duka, Tika, Chouka, Pancha, Chaka, or Atha for 1-8 respectively. Additionally horse, rat, Ganesha, Kartika, lotus, or fish figures are used.
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