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Ganjappa cards usually have paintings of ‘Dasabatara’, ‘Nabagraha’, ‘Astamalla’, ‘Bararasi’, ‘Ramayana’, ‘Mahabharata’ and 27 ‘Nakshatra’. Colours are used to distinguish the figures. For instance, in the Dasabatara series, blue is used to depict Vishnu Avatara (the incarnation of Vishnu), green personifies Rama with red as a background colour, and white is used for fish in Matsyabatara with black as the background etc. Horse, rat, Ganesha, Kartika, lotus or fish are the figures generally used. These are painted with exquisite detailing using fine brushes that are prepared out of a mouse‘s hair fixed on the wooden handle. The back of all the cards is usually painted in red.
Based on the number of colours in a set, the packs are called Atharangi (eight colours), Dasarangi (10 colours), Bararangi (12 colours), Chaudarangi (14 colours) and Sholarangi (16 colours). A maximum of 24 colours are used. Of these, the Atharangi is the most common. Each suit of cards in any set has 12 cards that include a king, a minister and ten numbered cards.