Madhubani Paintings

Madhubani Paintings

Madhubani Painting

Madhubani painting or Mithila art is a 2500-year-old Indian art form having its origin in the Mithila region of Bihar and Nepal.

 Available at Delhi:- Ambapali Bihar Emporioum, Dilli Haat, State Emporiums CP



Madhubani paintings are said to have their origins during the period of Ramayana. It is believed that King Janaka had once expressed his desire to get Princess Sita’s wedding captured in the form of a painting. The result was what we call Madhubani painting today. This art form was practiced in the mud walls and floors of the homes in Bihar.

A massive earthquake hit Bihar in 1934, thus leading to the discovery of this art form. British Colonial officer William G. Archer  was looking into the damage caused by the earthquake in the interior walls of homes in Bihar. During this  process, he came across this wonderful art form.

How are Madhubani paintings made?

Artists use bright colors extracted from natural dyes in these paintings.  For instnce, they are created using fingers, twigs, matchsticks and even pen nibs in modern times.As a matter of fact,  it is difficult to spot any blank space in these paintings. Rice paste is used to make outlines of the framework. The border is usually enhanced with geometric, floral patterns or fish forms .

Popular Themes and Designs

The figures depicted through these paintings have protruding fish-like eyes and pointed noses.Further, themes revolve around Hindu deities and natural elements. Bamboo trees, parrot, turtle, fish sun, moon and lotus are commonly featured in the paintings . Artists also draw complex geometric patterns to delineate love, devotion and prosperity. Moreover, these paintings depict ritual content for special occasions, ceremonies and festivals from mythology like Ramayana.

Present Scenario

Artists like Mahasundari Devi from Ranti village of Bihar have kept this traditional art form alive in more ways than one.  She is a PadmaShree awardee. They have not only taught other women about this alluring art form but also created awareness on how to take the legacy forward. At present, the Mithila museum of Japan showcases their splendid work of art.

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