Madhubani Painting

Madhubani (Literal meaning: The Forest of Honey) is a small village in Northern Bihar, in India, complete with its small clay and straw huts, narrow lanes and smell of cow dung. To the uninitiated, this nondescript hamlet seems to be having nothing extra ordinary on offer. The sheer abundance of houses, fences, temples and lanes is enough to startle a person until he comes to know the fact that this undistinguished little village is the heartland of the internationally acclaimed school of folk art painting called 'Madhubani' or 'Mithila' painting.

Blissfully unaware of Picasso and Hussain, the women folk of Madhubani and its adjacent Maithili villages (presently comprising the districts of Champaran, Saharsa, Muzaffarpur,Vaishali, Darbhanga, Madhubani, Samastipur, parts of Monghyr, Beguserai, Bhagalpur and Purnea) have kept this hereditary art of three dimensional painting alive for centuries. It is their expression of day-to-day life and practiced as a part of daily rituals.

The origin of Madhubani paintings can be traced back to the tradition of painting walls for the purpose of domestic beautification and ceremonial rituals. This folk art is believed to have survived from epic periods. Tulsidas (an ancient Indian poet) has given a vivid account of Mithila decorated for the marriage of Sita with Ram (Indian Mythological figures). Natural and mythological figures, added with deities of the Hindu pantheon, besides regional flora and fauna were painted on household and village walls to mark the seasonal festivals of the religious year and for special events of the life cycle, especially the rite of marriage. 'Januar', 'Gosain Ghar', 'Chhat', 'Chauth Chand', and 'Devathan Ekadasi' were some of the festivals integrally linked to this ethnic art form. For the first three occasions the walls were embellished with paintings of gods and goddesses. And for the latter two occasions mural paintings were done in the 'khobar' or the nuptial room at the bride's house. The paintings in 'khobar' were meant to bestow a blissful life on the newly married couple and naturally there was an abundant use of imageries related to fertility, love and conjugality. It was considered necessary to include all the main gods and goddesses in the paintings so that they can shower their blessings on the newly weds. Divine couples like Shiva and Parvati, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Ram and Sita, Radha and Krishna along with Jagannatha trio and Ganesha were illustrated on the walls. Maithilis are Sakti worshippers with the influence of Tantric rituals and so Siva-Sakti, Kali, Durga, Ravana and Hanuman also appear in their murals. Often, the bride and groom were also depicted whereby they could also become a part of the auspicious scene. The symbols like ring of lotuses and bamboo tree were frequently used to decorate the walls.The other symbols included, moon, a source of heavenly nectar, to ensue a long life, sun to fertilize and impregnate, turtles to bring beneficent powers to the matrimonial alliance, parrots to symbolize bride and bridegroom and fishes to help in fertility. The divine beings were positioned centrally in the frame while their consorts or mounts or simply their symbols and floral motifs formed the background. The human figures are mostly abstract and linear in form; the animals are usually naturalistic and are invariably depicted in profile. The colors 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 tiny straight lines. In the linear painting, no colors are applied. Only the outlines are drawn.

For Urgent Assistance :

Arts In India

Textile In India

Handicrafts In India
Craft From States
Sculpture In India

Jewelry From India

Gift Ideas In India

Accessories In India



Explore the colors and images of incredible India at this rare online gallery of Indian Paintings, consisting magnificent Madhubani paintings, mysterious Warli paintings, Patachitras, Tribal Paintings, Thangka Paintings and also contemporary Indian art paintings.