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Updated on November 24, 2011

I have always been fascinated by this aspect of our so enriched Indian culture. This is the land where diversities exist in all aspect and each is known for its own uniqueness. Though much have been said and written about this vivid culture of Indian land. I tried to introspect it for my own learning and understanding and thought of capsuling it for all you guys out here. The information depicted out here is been collected from various sources but worth reading again.

India is a land that been famous for its so enriched culture and history that has witnessed a treasure of rich art and architecture. Madhubani(the literal meaning of which is forests of honey) paintingsis one of such famous and distinguished approach of Indian art. Mithila Paintingis a style of Indian painting that is practiced in the Mithila region of Bihar (India). Maithili and Bhojpuri are the two most popular languages spoken by common masses out here in this part of the country.

Those who do no know.........

To begin with let me say you from where this form of art came into being! Mithila (a place in the state of Bihar in INDIA) has been mother of this form of art. It is said that during the mythological era of Ramayana, the then King – Raja Janak – wanted this enchanting form of art to be sketched for his daughter GODESS Sita with LORD Rama. It is believed that Mithila painting originated into its today’s form of historic painting from this episode.

A thousand years later, William Archer – the then local collector of a small province – in 1934 rediscovered this beautiful art through the wall and floors painting that he witnessed while his part of province was hit by a massive earthquake. He was so influenced with the paintings of this region of India that he decided to publish them through several of his publications. This indeed was a great success in attracting world’s attention to this great piece of ART!!

The people of MIthilanchal (named after Mithila) have been practicing this art since decades. To stress more I would say that the women of the region have contributed immensely to keep the culture alive. A part in southern Nepal also have been adorning this fabulous paintings.

What do Imprints & Impressions talk about.......

The colours jewelling the paintings are not mere colours used for beautification of the paintings. Every colour or form of colur depicts so meaning behind it. I hope you getting me. If not, let me simplify it for you. What do you think – the combo of RED &YELLOW would explicit? Well, I do not know what exactly they would when used in unison. But from the point of view of Mithila paintings, if you want to express Energy or Passion as a sign of Dullness – these two colours are used to convey the same. Red colour also holds the essence of binding force and even concentration of energy.

We know brushes are used for creating live paintings…correct!! But what are the kinds of brushes used after the painting is complete?? To give extra shades or the finishing touch or glorifying your painting – to some extent correct – one form of brush is used to highlighting tiny details created out of bamboo stick and the other one for filling in space that is made from cloths wrapped around sticks.

Though silently and being still unknown to world Mithila paintings have grown over a period of time. Its form has witnessed different shades from -

1 .Paintings on green cards to dress materials

2. The pictorials of fierce lions with fearful manes to paintings of human reminiscent of ancient Cretan pottery

These are few of the various manifestations of this art that had lured the attentions from plethora of audience from around the world

What the Items, do we see more prominently in Mithila Paintings?

Besides the two mentioned above, Mithila paintings are known to sculpture pictures of Living beings – Cows, Elephants, Fish, Parrots – to pictures of Non-Living beings – Trees, Moon and Sun – to name a few amongst many.

Now, how all these manifestations are crumbled in to a single frame??

The GODs are in general painted in center of the frame while their ensembles or their symbols and other flowery patterns form the background. The human figures are mostly conceptual and linear in their orientation while the animals are usually naturalistic and are perpetually depicted in the frame. Though natural colours and use of brushwood have given new means to brushes and synthetic paints, the subject of Mithila paintings has not changed in a big way.

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Themes & Style of Madhubani Paintings.....

In general the themes of Mithila painting revolve around the HIndu deities like Ram, Shiva, Lakshmi or Krishna and the objects of nature such as the moon or the sun. Tulsi, a religious plant as per Hindu mythology is also widely used. Usually while painting it is maintained that no place is left untouched; the gaps left over are filled with animals, flowers or even some of geometric designs.

Styles of Mithila Painting –

1. Brahmin Style – It was based on the prevailing hierarchy in the society according to which Brahmins where considered to be highest amongst the major three castes of that era. Since Brahims were the highest caste they were allowed to use vibrant colours inspired by the sacred themes with stories of various Hindu Gods.

2. The Kayasthas Style - The Kayasthas were a little below the Brahmins in the caste hierarchy and so were allowed only black and red colours. Their subject of the paintings includes the use of monochrome color, combination, like black, red, maroon etc.

3. The Tattoo Tradition/ Goidana (locally called) Style-

The Dusadhs were a low caste group and were not allowed to represent spirituality. Their paintings themes included the flora and fauna, and of Lord Salhesh – a Dusadh cultural hero. This style is known as Tattoo or Godhana painting.

Would seek a moment from you!!

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Traditionally all these forms of Mithila paintings were done of mud walls of Kohbar ghar, Gosain Ghar and the mud floors. It was also often drawn on walls swabbed with clay and coated with layers of cow dung.


and Few Others......


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    • prashantpujan profile image

      Prashant 6 years ago from Mumbai, India

      thank you very much moderators for republishing this article :)

    • prashantpujan profile image

      Prashant 6 years ago from Mumbai, India

      pleasure is indeed mine. Thanks for such sweet remarks..

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      What gorgeous colors and designs...and created by women to beautify their homes. I had never been exposed to this artwork. We all need more culture and art in our lives; I have written several Hubs about my Polish grandmother's paintings and Batiks. A very nice Hub - thank you for sharing with us.