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Indian Heritage & Culture

Madhubani Paintings

  • 23 Jul 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, artists from Madhubani district of Bihar became famous for making masks with hand-painted Madhubani motifs.

  • Motif is a decorative image or design, especially a repeated one forming a pattern.

Key Points

  • Origin: Madhubani painting has its origins in Mithila region of Bihar.
    • The painting is one of the oldest and most famous Indian art forms which is also practised in Nepal.
    • Traces of Madhubani art can also be noticed in the Ramayana, the Indian epic.
    • It is also known as Mithila or Madhubani art.
  • Characteristics: These paintings are popular because of their tribal motifs and use of bright earthy colours.
    • Traditionally the women of the village drew these paintings on the walls of their dwelling, as a demonstration of their feelings, hopes, and ideas.
    • Today men are also involved to meet the demand.
  • Style: It includes geometrical patterns, floral, animal and bird motifs.
  • Colours: The colours used in paintings comprise natural extracts from plants and other natural sources. E.g.: Black colour is obtained by mixing soot with cow dung; blue from indigo; white from rice powder; orange from palasha flowers, etc.
    • The colours are applied flat with no shading and no empty space is left.
    • These are usually dark and bright with pigments like lampblack (obtained from coal) and ochre (earthy yellow pigment).
    • These paintings are not made with modern brushes but rather with twigs, matchsticks, and fingers.
    • But now artists use brushes, nib-pens and synthetic colours as well to paint.
  • Themes: It is based on the mythological characters which depict the life of Hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Lakshmi, Shiva, Durga, and Saraswati.
    • The designs widely painted are of Tulasi plant, court scenes, wedding scenes, social happenings etc.
    • Also, heavenly bodies like the Sun and the Moon often form the centrepiece of paintings.
  • Eminent Artists: Karpuri Devi, Mahalaxmi and Dulari.

Source: TH

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