The General Characteristics of Madhubani Paintings: An Indian Folk Art!
An introduction to The Madhubani Paintings of India
If you are an admirer of the Indian Art, you must be familiar with the Madhubani paintings, or the Mithila paintings.
Madhubani art has its roots, in the Mithila region, of Bihar state, in Northern India.
It is also practised in Nepal, which is very close to Bihar geographically.
It is basically a folk art, and is made on mud walls, or on the floors of huts and homes.
But it's beauty and popularity has spread beyond regions, and now we see Madhubani paintings on the fabrics, Sarees, dress materials, hand bags, crockery, wall hangings, canvas paintings, and even on five star hotel walls and interiors.
Traditionally Madhubani art is done on various festivals, rituals during weddings, child birth, and other special occasions, or simply to decorate the walls.
Madhubani painting, Source: YouTube
Basic characteristics of Madhubani Paintings
- Madhubani art has different styles, namely Bharni, Katchni, Tantrik, Godna, Kohbar.
- The themes of drawings and paintings, are mainly based on the Gods and Goddesses, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, religious symbols like the Om, the good luck symbols, auspicious signs and others.
- These paintings, also highlight various birds and animals, which have religious importance in Hindu religion, such as elephants, peacocks, fishes and others.
- Bamboo plants, Tulsi plants, mango leaves, lotus flower, Banyan and Peepal trees and other flora, fauna also have their significance in Madhubani art.
- The original art, when done on mud walls, or hut floors, is done with natural colours, and natural dyes.
- These may include dry rice powder or paste, vermillion, turmeric powder, sandalwood powder, and other natural colours, extracted from flower and fruits.
- Basically, the paintings are done with the wooden twigs, fingers, matchsticks, or any such thing found in homes.
- One very popular way of doing this art, is covering the edge of a thin wooden twig with a little piece of cotton, and then draw with water and Ocher soil (Geru mitti in Hindi) Paste.
- Since Madhubani paintings have been admired by many art lovers globally, nowadays permanent colours are used to create designs on canvas, fabrics, wall hangings and others.
Basic characteristics of the Madhubani art
- Madhubani art is a combination of certain floral, and geometrical designs, and they also give a two dimensional view.
- Generally no space is left empty.
- Whatever space is left after drawing the main subject, whether to show a wedding, a bride or bridegroom garlanding each other, a peacock, or a fish, or any other thing--the rest of the space is filled with flowers, leaves design, or any other geometrical design.
- Usually, a border is drawn all along the painting. This could be square, round, rectangular, or any other shape, but everything is within a well decorated border.
- Madhubani art is believed to date back to the times of Ramayan. It is believed that king Janak asked artists, in those times to capture Sita's wedding to Ram in these art works.
- And this is how, this art was practised on the mud walls, and floors of homes all over the Mithila region.
Madhubani paintings, source: you tube
Madhubani art is still Relevant and Valuable
- Ancient art, paintings, or sculptures are generally, a true reflection and indication, of the culture and traditions of people, living in those times.
- Madhubani art is no different. But it has evolved, and that too with a purpose.
- It is so heartening, to see the present day artists, of this beautiful and great tradition, focussing on burning social, or political issues of today.
- By this medium, they try to convey a message to the people, and the institutions.
- Madhubani paintings based on womens's issues, reforestation, environment, about plant and animal life, make them relevant and valuable, in today's context as well.
- One very noteworthy effort, by the artists in this direction, was making Madhubani paintings on big trees so people do not cut it.
Traditionally only women were involved in this folk art. But now it is being done by men folks as well.
As other art forms , it is being carried on from one generation, to the other .
It would not be wrong to say, that this art form is now highly commercialised, and not confined to a village or a particular region.
The Government of India has taken care and considerable steps, to encourage the artists related to this folk art. The
The Handicrafts organisations of the government, provides all the necessary assistance to provide raw materials, and to market the finished work. Such that, it becomes as a source of non agricultural income, for many families in rural areas, related to this traditional folk art.
Madhubani paintings on the Railway Station Walls, source: You tube
Are you familiar with Madhubani art and paintings?
© 2017 Chitrangada Sharan