The General Characteristics of Madhubani Paintings: An Indian Folk Art
An introduction to Madhubani Paintings of India!
If you are an admirer of 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 floors of homes.
But it's beauty and popularity has spread beyond regions and now we see Madhubani paintings on 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.
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 Gods and Goddesses, Sun, Moon, Stars, religious symbols like Om, good luck symbols, auspicious signs and others.
- These paintings also highlight various birds and animals that 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 by 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 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 Mdhubani 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.
- And thus this art was practised on the mud walls and floors of homes all over the Mithila region.
Madhubani art is still relevant and valuable!
- Ancient art, paintings or sculpture are generally a true 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 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.
© Chitrangada Sharan , June 21 , 2017
All Rights Reserved.
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Madhubani paintings, source: You tube
Madhubani paintings, source: you tube
© 2017 Chitrangada Sharan