Madhubani painting is practiced in Mithila region of India. Madhubani painting also is known as “Mithila painting”. The origin of this art form is traced to the time of the Ramayana when lord Rama was the King of Ayodhya in North India. This ancient painting came into lime light again when the Prime Minister of India, Shri. Narendra Modi gifted a Madhubani Painting to the Lord Mayor of Hannover.
Today, we will come across some amazing facts about Madhubani painting that you never knew before.
Madhubani painting dated back in the time of Ramayana era. As the locals say, Raja Janaka, King of Mithila had commissioned once his craftsmen to decorate the whole Kingdom with Madhubani paintings on the auspicious occasion of Sita and Lord Rama’s wedding.
Madhubani paintings were unknown to the outer world until it was discovered by William G. Archer. It was the time when Bihar was struck with massive earthquake in 1934. During his inspection, Archer was amazed to see the beautiful illustrations on the newly exposed interior walls of homes. He was stunned by the beauty of painting, and took black and white pictures of that and took it abroad, which is still kept at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.
Then a second natural disaster, a severe draught in the late 1960s, prompted the All India Handicrafts Board to encourage a few upper caste women in villages around Madhubani town to transfer their ritual wall paintings to paper as an income generating project. This way Madhubani Painting got an international platform to stand out in thousands of art form.Madhubani painting has turned the table around, and women also cash in the opportunities, representing the region's cultural property to whole world.
Madhubani Painting of Lord Rama and Sita’s wedding
(Image Courtesy: APN News)
This painting mostly depicts its story related to nature, mythology, and events like birth, marriage and cycle of life. Madhubani paintings depicted an assembly of symbolic images of the lotus plant, the bamboo grove, fishes, birds and snakes in union. These images represented fertility and proliferation of life.
Madhubani images were coined by women on freshly plastered mud-walls of their huts during religious occasions and important events. The skill was passed from mother to daughter over generations. Today, this artwork has found an international platform and is created on paper, cloth, canvas, utensils, bangles, paper-mache products, wall hangings etc.
Madhubani paintings have two varieties: Bhittichitra and Aripana
Bhittichitra is done on the mud-walls of houses mainly in three rooms: the worship room, newly wedded couples room and the drawing room. Madhubani paintings are done on the outer and inner walls of these rooms and on Marba , on some auspicious occasions like marriage, upnayana (Holy threading ceremony) and festivities like Dussehra and Deepawali.
(Image Courtesy: The Loom)
Aripana is an art of line drawing on floors to depict lotus, feet, conch etc. These paintings are done on the eve of certain rituals or ceremonies such as puja, vrata, festivals and more.
(Image Courtesy: Pinterest)
Madhubani paintings play a big role in deforestation. This folk art is not just about decorations but also used for worship. Artists in Bihar draw paintings depicting Hindu deities on trees and strong religious beliefs inhibit people from chopping them down.
(Image Courtesy: OM)
The colours used in this rich craft were traditionally obtained from natural sources. Black was derived by mixing soot with cow dung, yellow from turmeric, pollen or lime and blue from indigo. Crimson hue was developed from the juice of kusum flower, red sandalwood or rose. Green dye was acquired from leaves, white dye from powdered rice paste and orange dye from palash flowers. Madhubani art is created instinctively by the artists without the use of sketches. The artists first prepare these natural dyes and paint the designs of these paintings. This feature makes each Madhubani painting unique.
In the town of Madhubani, there is also a ‘Mithila Art Institute’, which stands for the development of Madhubani paintings and also for the training of young artists.
(Image Courtesy: ethnicartfoundation)
There are exclusive Madhubani art galleries in India and across the globe. Apart from Mithilasmita in Bengaluru and a ‘Mithila Art Institute’ in the town of Madhubani, there is a museum called ‘Mithila Museum’ in Japan with over 850 Madhubani artworks on display!!!