Madhubani Paintings or Mithila paintings

  • It derives its name from Mithila, the ancient Videha and birthplace of Sita
  • It is presumed that for centuries, women living in this region have painted figures and designs on the walls of their mud houses for ceremonial occasions, particularly, weddings.
  • People of this area see the origin of this art form at the time of Princess Sita getting married to Lord Rama.
  • These paintings, characterised by bright colours, are largely painted in three areas of the house— central or outer courtyards, eastern part of the house, which is the dwelling place of Kuladevi, usually, Kali, and a room in the southern part of the house, which houses the most significant images.
  • Various armed gods and animals or images of women at work like carrying water pots or winnowing grain, etc., are vividly portrayed in the outer central courtyard.
  • The inner verandah, where the family shrine— devasthana or gosain ghar is located, griha devatas and kula devatas are painted
  • In the recent past, many paintings are done on fabric, paper, pots, etc., for commercial purposes.
  • The most extraordinary and colourful painting, however, is done in the part of the house known as the kohbar ghar or inner room, where magnificent representations of kohbar, a lotus with a stalk in full bloom having metaphoric and tantric connotation along with images of gods and goddesses are painted on freshly plastered walls of the room.
  • Mithila artists do not like empty spaces. They fill in the entire space decoratively with elements from nature like birds, flowers, animals, fish, snakes, the Sun and the moon, which often have symbolic intent, signifying love, passion, fertility, eternity, well-being and prosperity

Women paint with bamboo twigs to which some cotton swab, rice straw or fibre is attached. In earlier days, they made colour from mineral stones and organic things, such as phalsa and kusum flowers, bilwa leaves, kajal, turmeric, etc

Indian Paintings

Figure: An example of Mithila painting