In the pages of the pious Hindu text- Bhagavata Purana, we find the episode of Kartavirya’s battle with Parashurama, how the sixth avatar of Vishnu slew the king, and how this led to the murder of his father, sage Jamadagni at the hands of the sons of Kartavirya. As vengeance on the death of his father, in whose lamentation his mother Renuka beat her chest twenty-one times, Parashurama (literally, Rama who wields the Parashu or battle-ax) swore to wipe the earth off all the Kshatriyas, twenty-one times.
In his representation in art, Bhagwan Parashurama can be seen carrying the battle-ax, in the form of a valorous warrior. This Tanjore painting is rare in the manner in which it brings out the persona of the valant Parashurama, who can be seen approaching his enemy in a particularly attacking manner, making this painting highly emotive and absorbing.
The Bhagwan Parashurama Tanjore Painting comes with a fine black wooden frame that adds allure to the scene it highlights. The use of 24 karat gold in the embellishment of this Tanjore painting further enhances the divine aura of Bhagwan Parashurama, who stands with one foot on the chest of a figure dressed in a kingly manner, probably a representative of the Kshatriya race, his sworn enemies. In the heroic “Alidha” posture, Parashurama overpowers the king, who is stretched on the ground, and seems to be struggling. The wide eyes raised ax, and musculature that is highlighted by the brilliant shading of blue ideally bring out the character of Bhagwan Parashurama as a powerful warrior. Though his demeanor and weaponry underline his role as a warring god, the gold embossed sacred thread, matted hair, and saffron garment underneath the gold embellishment that is a distinctive feature of the Tanjore paintings- all the elements remind us that Bhagwan Parashurama is an ascetic, a Brahmana by birth.
The wrath of Parashurama in this Tanjore painting is reflected perfectly by the Kirtimukha that encircles the god and weaves together the scene of his glorious triumph.
Bhagwan Parshuram Tanjore Painting: