Madhubani Painting

In an earlier article on the art and crafts of Raghurajpur in the state of Orissa, we devoted ourselves to Madhubani painting in Bihar and the efforts to achieve this goal. Madhubani paintings are a famous rural art from the Madhubani villages of the Mithila region of Bihar. It is practised in both Mithila and Nepal and is one of the many famous Indian art forms.

Characterized by complex geometric patterns, Madhubani paintings are known to represent the ritual content of a particular occasion, including feasts and religious rituals. A more than 2,500-year-old art form believed to trace its roots back to Ramayana times when King Janaka was asked to capture a ram for a sita (wedding). The art form is practised in the Mithila region of Bihar and Nepalbihar and Nepal. In Nepal it is called Mithila Madhubani art.

The colors used in Madhubani painting are light pigments such as lamp black and ochre, from which black and brown emerge. The bright contrast of colors and outlines with precision reveals the perfect shape of the figures and patterns that flow into the painting. The colours used for MadHubani are made from tree bark, blossoms, leaves and other natural sources.

The painting style of the Madhubani goes back to the district "Madhubani" in Bihar, which means "honey forest," where women spent a lot of time painting pictures for the walls of their houses. The paintings were painted in plaster or clay on the walls and floors of the huts, and they were painted on fabric, handmade paper and canvas. MadHubani is mostly painted on hand-made paper, fabric and canvas for commercial purposes by women, but women are also involved in order to meet the growing demand.

Like many other painting styles, Madhubani painting uses natural colors and organic brushes. Kohbar form of Madhubani paintings are made on the occasion of wedding and in the homes of bride and groom. The first reference to MadHubani painting can be found in the Hindu epic, the Ramayana, where the father of King Janaka Sitaas asks his painter to create a crazy Hubani painting for the wedding of his daughters.

Practitioners of this Indian art form, both professional and traditional, depict popular legends such as Rama, Krishna, Durga, Kali, Shiva, Lakshmi, Saraswati and Indra as well as abstract scenes of courts and kings, familiar everyday objects and color palettes on fabric and canvas. A well-known genre of Indian folk painting of the Mithila is called Mithilas painting in the state of Bihar Madhubani. For centuries, women in this region painted the walls of their houses at weddings and other ceremonies with intricate linear patterns, and painting was an important part of Mithila women’s training, culminating at weddings with the painting of the wall of the Kohbar, the marriage chamber.

Most traditional art depicts natural objects such as the sun, moon, nature, deities, mythological epics, royal courts and weddings. Brahmins (women of the upper castes) of India and Nepal, the theme is very religious and they represent gods and goddesses in the paintings. This beautiful wall painting of Kohbar was made by my grandmother in our house.

Madhubani art (Mithila painting) is a style of Indian painting practiced in the region of Mithila in the Indian subcontinent. It is also known as Mithila painting owing to its origins in Theithila regions in Nepal and India. It is a traditional Indian folk art made from canvas, cloth, cow dung, washed hands and paper. Painting is done using a variety of tools such as fingers, twigs, brushes, feathers, pens, matches and the use of natural dyes and pigments.