Traditional Kerala mural painting is done only in five colours (Panchavarma) such as yellow, red green black and white. White is the wall itself and all other pigments are prepared from stones and leaves. The wall preparation is an elaborate process and on the specially prepared wall the picture is drawn first in line and completed in the above mentioned five colours. Most of the pictures are done based on ‘dhyanasloka’.
The structure of the epic narration of Ramayana is usually transformed on to the walls. Ramayana panel of Mattancherry palace is so compressed a pictorial space that even the main episodes seem to have got no sufficient space for proper accommodation and the crowded composition itself becomes stylistically and narratively multitudinous.
When the human figures are stylised very much the figure or animals such as and deer and birds are more naturalistic in posture, shape and their creaturely activities. Most of the human forms have sylised facial expression and gestures whose origin can be traced to the thatrical elements of acting in Koodiyattom and Kadakali. The wide-open round eyes, elongated painted lips, neatly exaggrated eye-rows, stylised body postures, over ornamentation hand gestures etc. can be compared with the classical theatre of Kerala.