Paintings : The Art of Mithila
The art of Madhubani
painting, is the traditional style developed in the
Mithila region, in the villages around Madhubani,
Bihar. Madhubani literally means a forest of
honey. This style of painting has been
traditionally done by the women of the region, though
today men are also involved to meet the demand.
The work is done on freshly plastered or a mud wall.
For commercial purposes, the work is now being done on
paper, cloth etc.
The paintings are
basically of a religious nature. They are done
in the special rooms in their homes (in the pooja
room, ritual area, bridal room.), on the main village
walls, etc., for ceremonial or ritualistic purpose.
The women offer sincere prayers to the deity before
starting the work.
Figures from nature
& mythology are adapted to suit their style. The
themes & designs widely painted are the worship of
Hindu deities such as Krishna, Rama, Siva, Durga,
Lakshmi, Saraswati, Sun and Moon, Tulsi plant, court
scenes, wedding scenes, social happenings around them,
etc. Floral, animal and bird motifs, geometrical
designs are used to fill up all the gaps. There
is hardly any empty space in this style. The skill is
handed down the generations, and hence the traditional
designs and patterns are widely maintained.
It is believed that
King Janaka had asked for paintings to be developed
for his daughter Sita's wedding.
Cotton wrapped around
a bamboo stick forms the brush. The colours
applied are prepared by the artists. Black
colour is obtained by mixing soot with cow dung;
yellow from turmeric or pollen or lime and 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; orange
from palasha flowers.
The colours are
applied flat with no shading. There is normally
a double line drawn for the outlines, with the gap
between the lines filled by cross or straight tiny
lines. In the linear painting, no colours are applied.
Only the outlines are drawn.