Madhubani Painting

The History of India is full of Music and Art. Without music and art you can not imagine the history of India. Madhubani Painting is one of the shining gems out of many precious art examples.

Madhubani Painting is identity of Bihar and some part of Nepal’s eastern region. if you visit Darbhanga, Purnea, Saharsa, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani or some part of Nepal where mainly you can witness the beauty of Madhubani Painting and it also developed from these region.

Initially this art or painting was found in the form of Rangoli and mainly drawn on walls of houses. But by the changing of time Madhubani painting moved from walls to clothes and papers and got a unique identity in the international community. Almost every fest of the world must have exhibitions of Madhubani Painting.

Especially for Madhubani Painting, a fest is organized every year in Surajkund of Faridabad known as Surajkund Mela where Madhubani Painting exhibits its true color. When I talked to some artists they said for 15 years they came to this fest regularly to sell Mithila Painting.

Madhubani Painting by Dr Shruti
Artwork by Dr Shruti

Globally fame Madhubani Painting has the subject of center for painting is Nature, Marriage, Ramayan and animals. People create paintings based on these subjects. Generally Bhagwan Krishna, Ram, Shiva-Parvati representation is prevalent.

Origin of Mithila Painting

Prevalent folk tale is that, the first painting was initiated during the Ramayana era. On the occasion of marriage of Lord Rama and Sita, King Janak has ordered the people of Mithila, especially women, to decorate the whole Mithila home with paintings to show its richness of culture to the marriage procession coming from Ayodhya. Women of Mithila painted walls of their home showing its culture and love of nature.

How Mithila Painting Got Global Identity

This art of Mithila practiced for thousands of years, was only considered folk art till 1950. Mithila Painting got global identity due to a British officer, the British Office showed his inclination toward this art. Real Story is that In 1934 Mithanchal witnessed a big earthquake, during this earthquake large scale loss was recorded. To see this tragedy a British Officer Williams Archer reached Mithila. he saw painting at the broken walls of Mithila which was new and unique for him. 

Madhubani Painting
Madhubani Painting

He photographed the art that was scattered everywhere. Photo clicked by Williams Archer is said to be the oldest picture of Madhubani Painting till now. Upon his return, Archer has written an Article on 1949 named ‘Marg’, in this article he compared Madhubani Painting with the art of Meero and Picaso and Madhubani Painting got global Identity.

How Madhubani Painting Drawn

Mithila Painting that is drawn on paper, clothes and Sarees nowadays, has a unique way of shaping. The Painting is engraved with the help of matchbox sticks and a pen made of bamboo. Paper used for Madhubani Painting is also prepared by hand.

Before painting on that paper, the solution of cow dung mixed with acacia glue is pasted with the help of cotton cloth on paper, when paper gets dry in sunlight then painting can be drawn on that paper. Characteristics of mithila painting is the color used to draw, very light and attractive color used to draw painting. 

Madhubani Painting
Artwork by Dr Shruti

Style of Madhubani Painting

Popular Style of Painting is

  • Bharni
  • Kachani
  • Tantrik
  • Godhna
  • Kohbar

Bharni

It is one of the most famous styles of Mithila Painting, Bharni means Bharna ( to fill) basically in this style of painting filling(bharna) of color is significant and the center of art. This is the reason paintings created in this style carry a very rich and vibrant color. In Bharni Style paintings of legends of Epic like Mahabharat, Ramayan are depicted. Shiva and Parvati which is known as Yogi and Yogini in Mithila are engraved. 

Kachani

In This style of painting mainly lines and shapes are used and colored with only one or two. Colore used in Kachani styles are dull and not vibrant. Mainly black and white painting which is based on pattern are examples of Kachani style of Madhubani Painting. Kachani means cutting in very fine. 

Tantrik

Tantrik style of mithila painting is different from all styles because in this style religious text and its legends are given special attention. In mithila society even today maximum cultures and marriage ceremonies are based on tantra. Paintings engraved on occasion of any ceremony are based on the Tantrik style of Madhubani Painting.

Madhubani Painting
Artwork by Dr Shruti

Godna

Godna style of Madhubani Painting is the simplest and beautiful form among all. It is said that Godha style was first started by Chanu Devi by using bamboo pen and kajal. Generally Godna art is engraved on leg and hand but some people also make Godna on body and neck. Panma means shape of betal leaf is popular in this style.

Kohbar

The Kohbar style of Madhubani Painting is a highly popular style of painting. The Kohbar word has special importance in Mithila society and Mithila painting. Kohbar indicates the room in which the bride and groom live after marriage. Kohbar painting is regarded as sacred as a temple. The main subject of Kohbar painting is love and prosperity.

Bharni, Kachani and Tantrik were initiated by Brahman and Kayastha women of Mithila. In 1960, Dusad women which belong from Dalit community initiated a different way of Mithila Painting in which glimps of King Sahlesh life was engraved. 

With the passing time Madhubani artists are getting global and many different modern styles of painting have emerged. In general only women engravs Madhubani Painting with hands. Some very famous artists like Sita Devi, Jagdamba Devi, Mahasundari Devi and Baua Devi have been honored with the Padma Award. 

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Anish Kumar Singh

Amature Photographer and Content Writer. From History to Street to landscape to Food everything.

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