Madhubani Art or Mithila
Art originated in the Madhubani district of Mithila region which includes part
of the state of Bihar in India and parts of Nepal. The art is believed to have originated during
the times of the Ramayana
when Lord Rama and Princess Sita, the daughter of King Janaka from the Mithila kingdom were married. As a
part of the wedding preparations king Janak ordered the local artists in his
kingdom to decorate the palace and thus, Madhubani paintings were born. The
general themes of the Madhubani paintings involve depicting the Hindu deities and stories related to them.
The paintings use many natural
themes such as the Sun, the Moon and other religious symbols.
Artist: Anagha Paul
by: Juhi Dubey
artists use natural vegetable dyes and
pigments for the paintings. However, with time these have now been replaced
by synthetic colors. The paintings are especially marked by use of extremely
bright color scheme and eye-catching geometrical patterns. The artists make use
of every bit of the empty space available in the painting by filling them up
with natural figures or geometric designs. The paintings
were traditionally done with fingers or other natural objects like twigs, brushes
or even matchsticks. They are based on various religious rituals and festive
occasions such as birth or marriage and other local festivals. Traditionally,
the Madhubani art form was limited to a community art and was transferred
from mother to daughter. It
was practiced as a part of religious,
customary or ceremonial decorations on the walls of the individual households.
The Mithila painting earlier were part of domestic rituals and were unknown to
the outside world.
Madhubani art received
international and national attention only after its discovery during the severe
earthquake of 1934 in Bihar and Nepal when
the decorations of the collapsed houses were exposed. Nowadays the paintings
are made on cloth, handmade paper and canvas sheets. The Madhubani art is characterized
by several styles which are named after the caste groups that largely practice
them. These include the Bharni style which were traditionally done by the
Brahmins, the Kachni style which was practiced by the Kayastha community, the Godhana or the Tattoo style of paintings
practiced by the Dusadhs and finally the Geru or Gobar paintings done by the Harijans. Commercialization and
globalization of the Madhubani art has removed the differences in the work of
artists of the region on the basis of caste system. The artists involved in the
Madhubani art are now working in all the styles.