10 Unknown Facts About Madhubani Paintings of Bihar
India is a land of creativity, art and culture, Madhubani Painting is one of the most famous art of Bihar mostly practiced in Mithila and some other parts of Bihar. This unique style of art was used by the women to decorate their house walls and doors in order to seek God’s blessing in the form of prosperity and peace. They are 100% organic paintings: made using organic colors and made on handmade paper.
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We are listing 10 unknown Facts about Madhubani Paintings.
1- Ramayana Period
Madhubani paintings are usually based on the religious themes like the images of God like Lord Krishna, scenes from Ramayana, etc. According to history the the origin of this art goes back to the Ramayana era when on the occasion of Sita’s marriage his father Raja Janaka arranged large number of artists to decorate entire kingdom with this unique art.
The entire wedding ceremony was thus painted in the form of Madhubani paintings by the artists of the Ramayana period. Back then, these paintings were usually drawn on the walls and floors of home by the women during certain festivals. It is a 2500-year-old folk art that originated in the Mithila region of Bihar and thus it is also called Mithila art by many artists.
2- Unique Style of Painting
Madhubani paintings are painted with natural colors using a paste of cow dung and mud to give a better texture to the walls. Artists used only natural colors in their art they used turmeric , pollen or lime and blue from indigo. The juice of kusum flower was used for crimson hue, red sandalwood or rose. Similarly they used different natural materials for their color needs.
These paintings are done using twigs, fingers, matchsticks and pen nibs as well that make it a unique form of art. Usually, bright colors are used in the making of such paintings and the outline and framework are made from rice paste which is also a unique approach to the entire painting. Geometric ad floral patterns are also used to embellish the borders.
3- Discovery of Madhubani Paintings
Before 1930 no one outside Madhubani region knew about this rare decorative traditional art. In 1934 Bihar suffered with major earthquake. British officer of Madhubani area William G. Archer who was very fond of Indian art and culture found this unique art on damaged walls of Madhubani during his inspection.
He discovered the unique form of painting that the damaged walls were engraved with! The unique natural themes, the wanderlust colors and the exclusive form of art made him mesmerized with the madhubani artists and the form of art that it was. Soon after, the form of Madhubani paintings was discovered and recognized more in the years to come.
4- Deforestation Prevention
This is lesser known fact about this amazing Art which makes these paintings unique. Madhubani Artists use Madhubani paintings as a way to prevent trees from being cut down. Madhubani art is not just about for decorations because most of these paintings depict Hindu deities. Artists make these paintings on trees depicting Hindu deities, and strong religious beliefs inhibit people from chopping them down.
In the year 2012 alone, approximately 100 trees were saved using this form of Madhubani painting where artists drew gods and goddesses on the tree and prevented them from being cut by the evil forces. This initiative was started by Shasthi Nath Jha who runs an NGO named Vikas Parishad which aims at saving trees from being cut down and uses Madhubani paintings for the same.
5- Geometric Design
In modern world floral paintings too became a part of Madhubani Art. These paintings looked alluring due to its geometric designs and vibrant colors. Madhubani paintings are also known as Godhna, Maithili, Chitra figure paintings.
Generally, Madhubani paintings depict characterized figures of humans or animals with nature themes but you can also find geometric patterns that depict values and morals to traditional people. Some of the famous forms of geometry include depicting a symbol of love, valor, prosperity, devotion, fertility, etc. The artists depict their emotions through these geometrical Madhubani paintings.
6- No Sketch
Madhubani artists make use of bold hues in order to draw the geometric designs and the floral patterns. Another main specialty of this divine art is these are created without the use of the sketch, this unique style of painting makes this art different from other popular paint arts.
Usually, most of us will think that such a big form of painting will require artists to use sketches to glorify the painting, but to our utter astonishment, no use of sketch is carried out during the drawing of the Madhubani paintings. In fact, the traditional Mithila art or Madhubani painting is made using fingers, match sticks, twigs, and pen nibs. Amazing isn’t it?
Madhubani paintings are drawn in accordance with a fixed theme and accordingly symbols, lines, patterns are drawn. For instance, the symbol fish stands for fertility, good luck and procreation whereas peacocks usually indicate love, religion and romance, serpents stand for divine protectors and so on.
The concept behind such painting is to convey the message to the society in its truest form. You will find various paintings engraved in a way that depicts a message to society and some depict just a natural phenomenon. This way the concept of the Madhubani paintings is made clear and people can browse through the categories depending upon their choice of the same.
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8- Home Wall to Textile Design
Till 60’s this unique and rare art used to be done on freshly plastered mud walls of houses in Madhubani village, it was nothing more than tradition for them. It was done basically by women during festivals or other important occasions. By the late 1970s these artists started getting attention from various art dealers across the country. This resulted the demand of this art in other forms as well in modern world Madhubani art has received immense commercialization, it can be seen on sarees, dupattas, salwar suits, etc., now it is being created on paper, cloth, canvas, wall hangings etc too.
Things have definitely changed with time where earlier the Madhubani paintings were only found in walls and floors of a house, today these paintings can be found in the form of various home decor items. Right from wall decoration pieces to home decor products and textiles, you get these intricate Madhubani painting designs in almost everything you want.
9- International Demand
People in Japan are very familiar with India’s Madhubani art and it is renowned and appreciated in many other countries as well. One of its kind The ‘Mithila Museum’, in Tokamachi hills in Japan`s Niigata prefecture and a brainchild of Tokio Hasegawa, is a treasure house of 15,000 unique and rare exquisite Madhubani paintings.
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Not only that but people from around the world are showing interest in buying the Madhubani paintings for their home decoration purpose. Thanks to the easy and affordable availability of the madhubani paintings through the ecommerce stores. The digital evolution has surely helped in such popularity of the Madhubani painting internationally.
10- Dedicated Organizations
There are many dedicated organizations working to support this rare art of india. There are many exclusive Galleries containing collection of Madhubani paintings in India and abroad. In Bengaluru, Delhi & Bihar many non-profit organizations are working with Madhubani artists to promote and support them.
The Mithila Art Institute (MAI), a free art school in Madhubani town, was founded by the EAF in January 2003 as a modest effort that might last two or three years.
These organizations not only support the art but also the artists as well by exhibiting their art form in their organizations and also helping them sell their paintings through various portals. They also make extensive use of social media platform to help these artists and thus, the contribution of such organizations in today’s time is huge for the madhubani artists.
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