Madhubani Painting: An Articulation of Our Folk Culture
Madhubani Art & Paintings: A Classic Indian Illustration
Madhubani paintings are the most delicate piece of folk painting practiced in the Mithila territory of Bihar state, India. It is also known as Mithila painting.
The term “Madhubani” originated from the two villages: Madhu and Kundan. The term “Madhubani” means “painted in the moonlight.” It translates to “forests of honey.”
The main characteristics of Madhubani painting are bright colors, intricate designs, and geometric shapes. The main subject of Madhubani paintings is varied, including religious & Hindu deities, birds, animals, flowers, real-life events, and landscapes.
Mithila Painting: As it Belongs to Mithila Region
Madhubani painting, also known as Mithila painting, originated in Mithila, Bihar, India. Moreover, these masterpieces were traditionally created by regional Mithila women. They use natural dyes made of minerals and vegetables to paint the walls and floors of their homes. Additionally, they started practicing this art in the 12th century AD.
These paintings were not simply art pieces but an essential part of women’s culture and heritage. Lately, artists have begun creating Madhubani art on cloth, paper, and canvas.
The main objective of creating these paintings was to showcase the story of Hindu deities. These also include Shiva-Parvati, Ganesha, Maa Durga, Radha-Krishna, Sita-Ram, and the like. But it also depicts nature, natural scenes of villages, everyday life, flora, and fauna. With time, Madhubani art has been in great demand in foreign countries.
Characteristics of Madhubani Art:
In Mithila, Madhubani painting is in three forms:
1) Floor painting (aripana): Women and girls from Mithila paint their floors with rice flour paste. Moreover, they also use banana leaves and wood. During “Tusari puja,” unmarried girls make Madhubani paintings with dry rice powder using different colors.
2) Wall painting (bhitti Chitra): Mithila women do wall painting to decorate their entrances with multiple colors. All four sides of the door were decorated with attractive floral motifs. These paintings include curd, fishes, trees like mango & pomegranate, and birds like the peacock.
3) Object painting (Vastu Chitra): This category includes paintings of pots, birds, bamboo structures, elephants, fishes, and other wooden objects. These paintings hold great religious significance.
Madhubani painting is a symbolic representation of day-to-day life events, experiences, and ideas. Maithili artists or painters use symbols that also hold specific meanings. Like fish representing good luck, peacocks representing romance and religion, and serpents representing heavenly protectors.
The use of colors, symbols, and traditional geometric designs supports the central theme of the painting. Madhubani painting is recognized globally and holds a great place in the international house of fame.
Moreover, the Government of India is also paying attention to restoring our cultural heritage by starting training programs to educate people. Some training centers are playing an essential role in restoring and increasing cultural awareness of Bihar.
Materials and Method of Madhubani Painting: Modern Twist
Madhubani paintings were created on handmade paper or clothes with naturally extracted colors. But now, they are created by artists on canvas, sheets, objects, and textiles. Multiple studies show the significance and demand of traditional Madhubani art and painting designs. These designs are popular on various things like diaries, books, cards, pots, home decor, etc.
Some studies show increased demand for specific design categories, including center design and border designs in textiles. It includes table cloths, cushion covers, home decor paintings, and clay pots.
How Can You Learn Madhubani Painting?
Madhubani paintings are vivacious and emblematic at the same time. It attracts not only artists but also people who wish to learn paintings. People believe this art style is difficult and complex to understand but a myth. Madhubani paintings are sophisticated and quite intricate. But if any artist wants to try their hand at creating this beautiful art piece, what minimum they require is a canvas painting sheet with coloring material. Multiple online platforms are helping beginners to learn how to create Madhubani paintings easily. Artists can find the step-by-step instruction manual for painting a Madhubani painting in art books. Once the basics are straightforward, one can experiment with multiple color papers, design patterns, and schemes.
However, the Government of India and the Bihar state government are taking considerable initiatives to spread awareness about Mithila art and paintings. Multiple training centers and NGOs are promoting this excellent art form widely. These training centers also help people connect with India’s deep roots and culture. Furthermore, this precious technique has flourished greatly from floor to paper and from wall to object paintings. It has added a sense of temptation among people to adopt our traditional designs quickly.
Madhubani art and paintings are the finest works of art from the Mithila region, achieved by generations of skilled artists. Madhubani painting successfully depicts all aspects of the everyday life of Maithili rural people. We can also say that it’s an ultimate representation of Indian folk culture in visual form.
In today’s fashion world, there is also a high demand for unique and innovative artistic Madhubani designs. The concept and presentation of Madhubani designs specially created by hand offer a creative and imaginative approach. This attracts people who like to follow their traditions with a touch of modernization.
In this changing fashion industry, our textiles demand authentic, unique, and latest designs. It allows us to use the adapted traditional motifs. Due to the continuous demand for Madhubani designs in the international market, the women of Mithila are also gaining recognition.