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highly artificial Sanskrit literary style employed in the court epics of India from the early centuries AD. It evolved an elaborate poetics of figures of speech, among which the metaphor and simile predominate. Other characteristics of the style are hyperbole, the careful use of language to achieve a particular effect, a sometimes ostentatious display of erudition, and an adroit use of varied and complicated metres-all applied to traditional subjects and themes derived from early popular epics.