This massive canvas identifies itself in four informal divisions. The centre of the canvas has been marked by an auspicious 'chhatra'. Two central pavilions, consisting of arched and embellished niches with 'Shrimukhas' in their centre, consecrate in the left one Uma and in the right one Maheshvara. Uma and Maheshvara both are engaged in dance, Uma in 'lasya' and Maheshvara in 'tandava'. In Shiva's dance the artist has followed the traditional iconography of South Indian bronzes, though the moves appear to be a little less boisterous. Maheshvara is four handed, one igniting 'agni' or the fire from it, other possessing his'damaru', the drum and the other two in 'nratya-mudras', the dance-forms. He has under his feet Apasmara and upon his hair the crescent, one symbolic of ignorance and the other of knowledge, that is, by his dance he eradicates ignorance and brings in knowledge. His hair wave in air and alike surges his left leg with various dance moves. He wears on his person furious snakes, a large one disabling Apasmara in its coil. Uma is two handed, both hands being in dance demeanour. She has her right leg waving in dance. She has a halo around her face. On her left she has Ganesha in dance form and towards right Nandi playing on a long spiral drum, known as 'damaru'.
The pavilion on Uma's left has four headed Brahma, though one of these four heads is concealed behind. In one of his four hands Brahma holds his usual Vedas, in the other a lyre and in yet other two a pair of cymbals. Brahma is in a dance form with his left leg lifted, something unusual for Brahma's iconography. He has a Shaivite 'tilaka' on his forehead, again quite unusual to Brahma. On his left towards the upper side he has a winged female deity with 'vina' in her hands. With her wings suggestive of her vehicle swan she is in all probabilities Saraswati. The pavilion on Maheshvara's right has in it Vishnu, known as Ranganatha in South Indian ritual tradition. He has four hands and is in dance form, though Vishnu is known to have danced only when he incarnated as Krishna and Vamana. In one of his four hands he has his usual conch, in the other his 'chakra', in third a drum and the fourth one is in a 'nratya-mudra'. On his right he has a trumpet player and on left a four handed deity with trident, spear, cymbals and 'vajra' in his hands. He too is in a posture of dance. The Shaivite dominance is evident in the entire painting. Except Brahma all the three deities, Uma, Maheshvara and Vishnu have blue complexion. This 'kalamakari' has been painted against a black back ground and quite surprisingly without using green and red, so widely used in paintings all over.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr. Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of literature and is the author of numerous books on Indian art and culture. Dr. Daljeet is the curator of the Miniature Painting Gallery, National Museum, New Delhi. They have both collaborated together on a number of books.