Madhubani Art form

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  • 8/10/2019 Madhubani Art form


    Recognition as an art form

    Hindu women who live in villages near the market town of Madhubani in northern India

    maintain old traditions and teach them to their daughters. Painting is one of the traditional

    skills that is passed down from generation to generation in the families of some of the women.

    They paint gures from nature and myth on household and village walls to mark the seasonal

    festivals of the religious year, for special events of the lifecycle.

    !ut even though women in the villages around Madhubani have been practicing their folk art

    for centuries, the world at large has come to know about these women and to consider them

    to be "artists" only in the last thirty years. #ven now, most of their work remains anonymous.

    The women, some of them illiterate, are in any case reluctant to consider themselves

    individual producers of "works of art" and only a few of them mark the paintings with their

    own name.

    $mong the rst modern outsiders to document the tradition of Madhubani painting were

    %illiam $rcher, a British civil servant the local Collector, inspecting the damage in

    Mithila's villages, saw these wall and oor paintings for the rst time and

    subsequentl photographed a number of them. &ecogni'ing their great beauty, he and

    his wife, Mildred, brought them to wider attention in several publications. %orks that the

    $rchers collected went to the India &ecords ()ce in *ondon +now part of the !ritish *ibrary

    where a small number of specialists could study them as creative instances of India-s folk art.

    In the /01s and early /21s several Indian scholars and artists visited the region and also

    became enamoured of the paintings. !ut it was not until /22, in the midst of a ma3or

    drought, that the $ll India Handicrafts !oard sent an artist, !askar 4ulkarni, to Mithila to

    encourage the women to make paintings on paper that they could sell as a new source of

    family income.

    %hat led the women painters to share their work with the larger world was a ma3or ecological

    and economic crisis that resulted from a prolonged drought in /2225 that struck Madhubani

    and the surrounding region of Mithila.

    In order to create a new source of nonagricultural income, the $llIndia Handicrafts !oard

    encouraged the artists to produce their traditional paintings on handmade paper for

    commercial sale.

    (ver time, aside from the growing diversity of people painting, the sub3ect matter of the

    paintings has e6panded to include ancient epics, local legends and tales, domestic, rural, and

    community life, ritual, local, national, and international politics, as well as the painters- own

    life histories. $rtists of di7erent castes and genders are now borrowing themes and styles

    from one another. Mithila painting has demonstrated e6traordinary vitality and become a

    vibrant and aesthetically powerful tradition.

    !ince then, painting has become a primar source of income for scores of families"

    #roduction and initial mar$eting have been regulated b regional craft guilds"

  • 8/10/2019 Madhubani Art form



    Madhubani art is usually done by filling the colours with brush. This process is carried out either by filling or

    hatching. Hatching refers to the use of line in the paintings. Many paintings use both filling as well ashatching.

    This style of painting has been traditionally done by women of the region, though today men are also

    involved to meet the demand.

    These paintings are popular because of their tribal motifs and use of bright earthy colours.

    Madhubani paintings are characterized by the vibrant and bold use of colours and traditional geometric

    patterns that supports the main theme.

    Some of the main attributes of all the Madhubani paintings double line border, ornate floral patterns, abstract-

    like figures of deities and bulging eyes and a olting nose of the faces of the figures.

    These paintings are done with mineral pigments prepared by the artists. The work is done on freshly plastered

    or a mud wall.

    !bstract-like figures, of deities or human. Scenes of royal courts and social events such as celebration of

    wedding are also beautifully depicted in Madhubani paintings.

    The main categories in Madhubani paintings are" Traditional, Monochrome, Tattoo, #ontemporary, !nimals

    and $irds.

    %ou can even find beautiful Madhubani paintings of sun, moon and tulsi or the sacred basil plant revered very

    much by the Hindus. Scenes of royal courts and social events such as celebration of wedding are alsobeautifully depicted in Madhubani painting.

    Medium of painting

    %all Painting +!hitti 8hitra

    8anvas Painting +Pata 8hitra

    9loor Painting +$ripan%rt shifted to &rawing #aper in ()*s"+his brought with it a new freedom and creativit as

    paper is moveable" #ainting on Clothes and !un mica"

    ow Bihari women use the stle of Madhubani #aintings on !arees, &upattas with fabric

    paint etc"

  • 8/10/2019 Madhubani Art form



    The painting was usually done on walls during festivals, religious events +pu3as, vratas, andother milestones of the lifecycle such as birth, :panayanam +sacred thread ceremony, andmarriage.

    The walls were decorated for main purposes as; The sacred thread ceremony +when a boy became an adult member of his caste

    The dedication or renovation of the family shrine +the gosain ghar

    9estivals such as 8hhath, 8hauth 8hand, and the marriage when the bride and bridegroom were formally linked.

    The >second> marriage when they entered their actual married state.

  • 8/10/2019 Madhubani Art form


    Human Forms

    In this painting include various Bods Boddesses. The sub3ect matter varies according to theoccasion. Bod Boddess such as Aishnu*akshmi, @hivaParvathi, &ama@ita, 4rishnaradha etc.

    Other Forms

    In other forms, the Eora, fauna, myth legend, social customs e6pressions giving ritualisticsymbols are painted. In these paintings include Eower +lotus, tree, bamboo, forest etc..

    @ome of the famous and common Madhubani paintings as part of wall hanging dcor orframes include;

    Male &ivine Beings - .uman Male /deals &ama Hunts the Bolden

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    Rites of the .uman 4ife2Ccle

    4ohbar (r Marriage Proposal !ride Transported by PalanFuin

    %ithin the Honeymoon 8hamber

    The Married 8ouple as (ne


  • 8/10/2019 Madhubani Art form


    &ice paste is used as pigment and a twig is used as a brush.

    Bosain Bhar paintings +room for kuladevata or the deity of the family are also prevalent.

    Bharni 9 3Brahmin +radition520illing art5:nlike the 4ayastha, the !rahmin style of painting lavishly deals with rich variety of colours.

    Their easy access to Hindu sacred literature has helped them immensely in portraying the rich

    Hindu iconography and mythology.The !rahmin tradition mainly deals with themes of gods and goddesses and magical symbolsconnected with deities. This school usually used pigments on paper for their art.

    8achni 9 38aastha +radition5 9 4ine artThe uniFue feature of the 4ayastha tradition is the use of mainly two colours, black and red.The 4ayastha style of painting basically was a practice of elaborate wall paintings +4ohbarBhar of the nuptial chamber. These paintings were line drawings of sacred symbols.

    They represented the lotus plant, bamboo grove, sh, tortoises, parrots, birds and all thatsymbolised fertility. Thus even when this style is conceived in paper, single colour line workdenes the 4ayastha style of painting even today.

    1odhana 9 3+he +attoo +radition5 9 tattooart

    There is a third group of painters of Paswan community other than 4ayasthas and !rahmins.This third group of Hari3ans came forward much latter.

  • 8/10/2019 Madhubani Art form


    The painting is originally in the form of a line drawing and is divided into several hori'ontalmargins.

    Their themes are normally based on the legend of &a3a @alhesh 8onsidering its rich use ofcolour it is closer to the !rahmin school of painting.

    &i:erence between Mithila painting and 1odhanapainting

    1odhana #ainting is done b the #aswans where Mithila painting is done b the

    women of Brahmins and 8aasthas"

    1odhana #ainting is a lower casts 3.ari;an5 painting where Mithila #ainting is an

    upper casts painting"

    1odhana painting is a tribal painting where Mithila painting is painted b the land


    Mithila painting got a worldwide recognition earlier than the 1odhana painting"

    +he origin of Mithila painting seems ver ancient than 1odhana painting"

    %ith the introduction of the Pan3i system in GD2, which laid down the rules for !rahmin and4ayastha women, di7erences in style appeared based mainly on the caste. :ppercastewomen, who had a relatively conned e6istence, were made to adhere strictly to specicthemes and symbols pertaining to the rituals. It is possible that with the lack of variety inthemes, their paintings became more stylistic and intricate in their patterns, which led to thedevelopment of the !harni and the 4achni style.

    8achni !tle of Blac$ and

  • 8/10/2019 Madhubani Art form


    Madhubani can be described as a style of painting, rather than a set of pictures. The colours,which are mostly bright, are used to impart twodimensional imagery to the paintings. Theartists still stick to the traditional way of