Madhubani/Mithila Painting

ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT

Madhubani painting originated in  Madhubani district of Mithila region in  Bihar . Initially, the womenfolk of the region drew the paintings on the walls of their home, as an illustration of their thoughts, hopes and dreams.

With time, the paintings started becoming a part of festivities and special events, like marriage. Slowly and gradually, the Madhubani painting of India crossed the traditional boundaries and started reaching  both at the national as well as the international level.

The traditional base of freshly plastered mud wall of huts has now been replaced by cloth, handmade paper and canvas. Since the paintings have been confined to a limited geographical range, the themes as well as the style are, more or less, the same.

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THEMES

Themes of the Maithili painting of Bihar revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi, Shiva, Durga and Saraswati. The natural themes that are used include the Sun, the Moon and the religious plants like tulsi.

One can also find paintings based on scenes from the royal courts and social events, like weddings. If any empty space is left after painting the main theme, it is filled up with the motifs of flowers, animals and birds or geometric designs

COLOURS AND BRUSH

The brush used for Madhubani paintings of Bihar was made of cotton, wrapped around a bamboo stick. The artists prepare the colors that are used for the paintings. Black color is made by adding soot to cow dung; yellow from combining turmeric (or pollen or lime) with the milk of banyan leaves; blue from indigo; red from the kusam flower juice or red sandalwood; green from the leaves of the wood apple tree; white from rice powder and orange from palasha flowers. There is no shading in the application of colors.

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OUTLINES OF THE PAINTINGS

A double line is drawn for outlines and the gap is filled with either cross or straight tiny lines. The linear Maithili paintings do not even require application of colors; only the outlines are drawn.

GI (Geographical Indication) STATUS

Madhubani painting has remained confined to a compact geographical area and the skills have been passed on through centuries, the content and the style have largely remained the same. And that is the reason for Madhubani painting being accorded the coveted GI (Geographical Indication) status.