#MuseumJigsaw: Kukkuta Jataka by Badri Narayan

Badri Narayan is one of India’s most famous modern-painters from the South [Secunderabad] and a self-taught artist. He wore many hats: painter, illustrator, fiction-writer, teacher, storyteller. He was inspired by Indian epics, Ajanta murals and Byzantine-portraiture. In this painting, he illustrates the “Kukkuta Jataka”. The story is a warning against flattery – but before we get into the story, go ahead, piece this masterpiece together!

This artwork is from the collection of Sarmaya

Badri Narayan’s works are like stories. Just like Jataka tales, his works have a deeper meaning, is filled with symbolism and touch upon emotions like love, hope, and trust.

Helpful Tips

# puzzle pieces might just be on top of each other – look carefully!
# make sure you have observed the painting before you start. In case you need to see the image again, scroll down or hit the picture icon on the bottom left
# hint: it’s quite easy to piece the woman’s face and the rooster together !
# Don’t forget to challenge your friends!

About the Painting

Jataka tales, as we know are stories based on different lives of Gautama Buddha – each with it’s own lesson. This painting reimagines the story of the cat and rooster where the rooster is a Bodhisattva. The cat approaches the rooster with the intention of eating it; flattering the rooster offering to be his wife. The tale was narrated to a monk who was tempted by the sight of a woman. In the artwork too, you see a woman holding a rooster, lovingly look towards a sage [monk].

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art resources and learning activities by Sarmaya

Badri Narayan

Badri Narayan was inspired by Indian miniatures, especially Pahari paintings. His delicate line work reflects this influence. He experimented with several mediums including ceramics and woodcuts, finally settling on paper so he could work with ink, pastel and watercolours. He often painted mythological scenes, kings, monks and cultural icons – drawing heavily from the stories he was surrounded by.

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