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Indian Painting Styles...Madhubani/Mithila Painting (Bihar)

Discussion in 'Paintings' started by Yashikushi, Apr 28, 2013.

  1. Yashikushi

    Yashikushi Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    For Updates and for the Check-List of other Indian Painting Styles...Please Click the link Indian Painting Styles...INDEX

    For More designs...check the updated version of Yashi's DESIGN CORNER..

    Check this previously posted tittle too
    Indian Painting Styles...Kerala Mural Painting

    Indian Painting Styles...Kalamkari Paintings (Andhra Pradesh)

    Paying my sincere thanks to all content and image providers,the blogs and sites.[​IMG] Esp Google,my all time Assistant [​IMG]

    Browse the designs/Patterns/Motifs from second page onwards.All the imges were from GOOGLE

    Content Courtesy:

















    Tracing designs from


    Thanks to


    Galley pages;

    External sites













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  2. Yashikushi

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    Madhubani or Mithila art

    Madhubani paintings, a traditional folk art of region of Bihar also referred as Godhna, Maithili/ Mithila and Chitra figure paintings are renowned worldwide for their beauty and simplicity.

    MITHILA, the birthplace of Sita of the Ramayana, lies in the state of Bihar, bounded by the Himalayas in the north and the rivers Kosi, Ganga and Gandak in the east, south and west respectively.

    The first reference to the Maithili painting of Bihar dates back to the time of Ramayana, when King Janaka ordered the paintings to be created for his daughter Sita's wedding.

    We know through Hindu mythology that, Rama, the Prince of Ayodhaya, married Princess Sita, daughter of King Janaka of Janakpuri (now in Nepal) of Mithila Raj, so she is also called Maithili in the religious texts.

    Madhubani means a "Forest of Honey", ((Madhu - honey, Bans - forest or woods) ) it is a place near Durbhanga district in North Bihar. So under this Mithilanchal region these places famous for their beautiful traditional folk arts, which are named after this place & called Madhubani painting. Madhubani painting, also referred to as Mithila Art (as it flourishes in the Mithila region of Bihar), is characterized by line drawings filled in by bright colours and contrasts or patterns.

    The painting was traditionally done on freshly plastered mud wall of huts, but now it is also done on cloth, hand-made paper and canvas.

    What is unique about this tradition - which dates back to the 7th century A.D., and is prevalent even today Madhubani Art was traditionally practiced only by women and they mastered it over the period of time.

    People of Mithila have their own language and a sense of regional identity that goes back more than 2500 years.

    There are several artists in Ranti and Jitwarpur, Rasidpur, Bacchi, and Rajangarh are also well known for this unique art villages of this district who paint for a living.


    As Madhubani painting has remained confined to a compact geographical area of Mithila and the skills have been passed on through centuries, the content and the style have largely remained the same.

    As the map indicates, the Mithila region and the villages around Madhubani are situated near the northern edge of the state of Bihar as it approaches the India-Nepal border. People of Mithila have their own language and a sense of regional identity that goes back more than 2500 years. Among the most celebrated figures believed to have been born in the region are Mahavira (a great spiritual hero of the Jain religion), Siddhartha Gautama (better known to the world as the Buddha), and Sita (the legendary wife of Prince Rama and herself a central figure in India's most popular epic, the Ramayana).

    The people of Mithila in northern Bihar believe that the land of Mithila or Mithilanchal is holier compared to other parts of Bihar. This is possible because of the historic fact that Mithila was the first region which was brought under the influence of Aryan culture and the Maithils take a lot of pride in their culture, language and customs. They will adhere to the minutest details during rituals from birth to death according to the dictates of the “Shastras” (sacred texts on ritual worship).

    The land of Mithila is covered by Muzaffarpur, Champaran, Madhubani, Vaishali, Samastipur, Saharsa, Darbhanga and parts of Bhagalpur, Monghyr, Beguserai, and Purnea. Within Madhubani, the paintings are more profuse than other places.

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  3. Yashikushi

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    There is a belief that these paintings may have had their origins in Tantric rituals. Mithila has from time immemorial been a seat of the tantric tradition, with strong leanings towards the Saiva and Sakti cults. The tradition found expression in domestic rituals, and that is perhaps why the art form was once restricted to women. But that did not stop the artists from transcending the domain of practical utility in order to create something exquisite from an aesthetic point of view.

    Though the tantric connection with Madhubani art is still debated, it is a fact that by the 12th century A.D., the Vamachara school of tantra was popular in the region and that it was women who went through all the rituals. This provided women with an important space and function in society. There are numerous references by the poet Vidyapati (A.D.1350-A.D.1450) to this art form and its tantric connection.

    With the introduction of the Panji system in 1326, which laid down the rules for Brahmin and Kayastha women, differences in style appeared based mainly on the caste. Upper-caste women, who had a relatively confined existence, were made to adhere strictly to specific themes and symbols pertaining to the rituals. It is possible that with the lack of variety in themes, their paintings became more stylistic and intricate in their patterns, which led to the development of the Bharni and the Kachni styles.

    This sudden change in the form of art and its presentation has enabled the world to discover a new form of art with an enviable linkage to the lives of women. The ancient tradition of elaborate wall paintings or Bhitti - Chitra in Bihar played a major role in the emergence of this new art form.

    The original inspiration for Madhubani art emerged out of womens craving for religiousness and an intense desire to be one with God. With the belief that painting something divine would achieve that desire, women began to paint pictures of gods and goddesses with an interpretation so divine that captured the hearts of many. Women of upper castes mainly did the wall paintings of the Kohbar Ghar, Gosain Ghar((room for kuladevata or the deity of the family) and the Aripan (Floor paintings)

    Recognition as an art form…
    Hindu women who live in villages near the market town of Madhubani in northern India maintain old traditions and teach them to their daughters. Painting is one of the traditional skills that is passed down from generation to generation in the families of some of the women. They paint figures from nature and myth on household and village walls to mark the seasonal festivals of the religious year, for special events of the life-cycle, and when marriages are being arranged they prepare intricately designed wedding proposals.

    But even though women in the villages around Madhubani have been practicing their folk art for centuries, the world at large has come to know about these women and to consider them to be "artists" only in the last thirty years. Even now, most of their work remains anonymous. The women, some of them illiterate, are in any case reluctant to consider themselves individual producers of "works of art" and only a few of them mark the paintings with their own name.

    Among the first modern outsiders to document the tradition of Madhubani painting were William Archer, a British civil servant the local Collector, inspecting the damage in Mithila's villages, saw these wall and floor paintings for the first time and subsequently photographed a number of them. Recognizing their great beauty, he and his wife, Mildred, brought them to wider attention in several publications. Works that the Archers collected went to the India Records Office in London (now part of the British Library) where a small number of specialists could study them as creative instances of India's folk art.

    In the 1950s and early 1960s several Indian scholars and artists visited the region and also became enamored of the paintings. But it was not until 1966, in the midst of a major drought, that the All India Handicrafts Board sent an artist, Baskar Kulkarni, to Mithila to encourage the women to make paintings on paper that they could sell as a new source of family income.

    Although traditionally, women of several castes painted, Kulkarni was only able to convince a small group of Mahapatra Brahmin and Kayastha women to paint on paper.

    What led the women painters to share their work with the larger world was a major ecological and economic crisis that resulted from a prolonged drought in 1966-68 that struck Madhubani and the surrounding region of Mithila.

    In order to create a new source of non-agricultural income, the All-India Handicrafts Board encouraged the artists to produce their traditional paintings on handmade paper for commercial sale.

    By the late 1960s and early 1970s, two of these women, Sita Devi and Ganga Devi were recognized as great artists both in India where they received numerous commissions, and in Europe, Japan, Russia, and the United States where they represented India in cultural fairs and expositions. Their success and active encouragement led scores of other women to paint. Many of these women have also been recognized as artists of national and international stature. Furthermore, women of several other castes, are now painting most especially the Dusadh, a Dalit community, and also small numbers of men.

    Over time, aside from the growing diversity of people painting, the subject matter of the paintings has expanded to include ancient epics, local legends and tales, domestic, rural, and community life, ritual, local, national, and international politics, as well as the painters' own life histories. Artists of different castes and genders are now borrowing themes and styles from one another. Mithila painting has demonstrated extraordinary vitality and become a vibrant and aesthetically powerful tradition.

    Shilp Sangh, a Jiyo!-Jeevika initiative, implemented by The Asian Heritage Foundation in this village is a platform for the women artists to showcase their work and develop new designs. It is a self-supporting cooperative.

    Mithila Art Institute was established in Madhubani in 1980 by The Ethnic Arts Foundation, a non-profit organization, dedicated to encouraging, training and creating opportunities for the younger generation of the talented Mithila painters. The Institute provides free instruction, working and exhibit space, materials, and a supportive community for these artists. The major emphasis is on developing their painterly skills and imaginations, while retaining a rootedness in Mithila traditions and aesthetics.

    The government of India, the state government of Bihar and the regional craft guilds have all come in together to initiate the productions and marketing for these women painters. This sudden change in the form of art and its presentation has enabled the world to discover a new form of art with an enviable linkage to the lives of women.

    Since then, painting has become a primary source of income for scores of families. Production and initial marketing have been regulated by regional craft guilds.

    But the continuing market in this art throughout the world is a tribute to the resourcefulness of the women of Mithila who have successfully transferred their techniques of Bhitti chitra or wall-painting to the medium of paper, and have resisted the temptation to adapt their traditional designs too freely in pursuit of unpredictable public tastes.




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  4. Yashikushi

    Yashikushi Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    The main categories in Madhubani paintings are:

    • Traditional
    • Monochrome
    • Tattoo
    • Contemporary/ Modern
    • Nature (Animals and Birds)
    The attributes characterizing nearly all Madhubani paintings are:-

    • The figures are recognizable by a face in profile while the rest of the body faces the front.
    • The face has one very large eye and a bumpy sort of nose coming out of the forehead.
    • The figure outlines are drawn as a double line with diagonal hatching between them.
    • The borders are highly decorated - either geometrically or with ornate floral patterns.
    • Clothing also is highly decorated with geometrical, floral or even animal patterns.
    • The drawings of animals are easily recognized for what they are, but again tend to be very stylized.
    Generally no space is left empty, the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds and even geometric designs.

    Madhubani art is usually done by filling the colours with brush.
    This process is carried out either by filling or hatching. Hatching refers to the use of line in the paintings. Many paintings use both filling as well as hatching. This style of painting has been traditionally done by women of the region, though today men are also involved to meet the demand.

    These paintings are popular because of their tribal motifs and use of bright earthy colours.

    Madhubani paintings are characterized by the vibrant and bold use of colours and traditional geometric patterns that supports the main theme.

    Some of the main attributes of all the Madhubani paintings double line border, ornate floral patterns, abstract-like figures of deities and bulging eyes and a jolting nose of the faces of the figures.

    These paintings are done with mineral pigments prepared by the artists. The work is done on freshly plastered or a mud wall.

    Abstract figures, of deities or human, Scenes of royal courts and social events such as celebration of wedding are also beautifully depicted in Madhubani paintings.

    Various Styles

    Madhubani paintings are done in different styles by different sections of the society.It is interesting to note that the styles of Madhubani painting are divided in the exact way the Hindu ancient society was categorized. Each and every style of painting is named after the four classes of the society (the Tattoo style representing the lowest strata of the social hierarchy).

    Though there were no class artists and most of the subjects were common, still based on the preference of people from a particular caste, the different schools of Madhubani paintings have been classified into many types:
    Geru, Tantric, Gobar, Bharni , Kachni , Godhana.

    GeruThis is practiced by the harizans (lower class) of the society. They wash the paper with cow dung and paintings are done using earth colors.Harijan style of painting is very simple without much of intricate work.


    Tantric - The tantric form is used for making puja yantra.



    Gobar/ Kohbar (cowdung – painting)

    Kohbar Ghar paintings are elaborate wall paintings of the nuptial chamber with representations of the lotus (purain), bamboo grove, fish, birds and snakes in union, which largely symbolizes fertility and life.
    • Women members of the bride’s family, village and caste, paint them on the occasion of a wedding.
    • The bride and groom spend three nights within the painted walls but are allowed to consummate the marriage only on the fourth night.
    • Various motifs, each with a different symbol, are used: The Kohbar motif, Bans (bamboo grove motif), Latpatia Suga (parrots in union),Bidh-bidhata (a male and a female bird facing each other), Patia (mat woven from mothi), Nag-nagin (entwined male and female cobras), Pan ke ghar (leaf house) and Naina jogin (Goddess with magical powers). Women paint Aripana floor paintings on a sacred day of every lunar month.
    • Rice paste is used as pigment and a twig is used as a brush.
    • Gosain Ghar paintings (room for kuladevata or the deity of the family) are also prevalent.

    Bharni – (Brahmin Tradition)-Filling art

    Unlike the Kayastha, the Brahmin style of painting lavishly deals with rich variety of colours.

    Their easy access to Hindu sacred literature has helped them immensely in portraying the rich Hindu iconography and mythology.

    The Brahmin tradition mainly deals with themes of gods and goddesses and magical symbols connected with deities. This school usually used pigments on paper for their art.


    Kachni – (Kayastha Tradition) – Line art

    The unique feature of the Kayastha tradition is the use of mainly two colours, black and red.

    The Kayastha style of painting basically was a practice of elaborate wall paintings (Kohbar Ghar) of the nuptial chamber.

    The wrappers for the vermilion powder were painted by the bridegroom’s family and sent to the bride before the wedding.

    These paintings were line drawings of sacred symbols.

    They represented the lotus plant, bamboo grove, fish, tortoises, parrots, birds and all that symbolised fertility. Thus even when this style is conceived in paper, single colour line work defines the Kayastha style of painting even today.


    Godhana – (The Tattoo Tradition) – tattoo art

    There is a third group of painters of Paswan community other than Kayasthas and Brahmins. This third group of Harijans came forward much latter.

    Dusadh better known in the West as the untouchables, have no right to represent deities and therefore based solely plant and animal world. Their style, known as the Godhana painting is easily recognizable by the sepia background they always recover their paper, it is made from cow dung diluted with water.
    Dusadh In some drawings on very recent media such as paper, is directly inspired by the patterns of their tattoos.

    The women of Dusadh cast and some other Harijans as Chamar were doing all forms of traditional paintings and art forms for ritual purposes and also for the decoration of their huts. They were not allowed to represent divinities and can only find inspiration from the animals, mineral and vegetable worlds. Their style of painting is known as Godna Painting. It is easily recognizable due the very unique background which is done with diluted cow dung. They also experimented Godna (tattoo) style and other bright colours in their paintings due to the influence they got from the entrepreneurship and experiments of Brahmans and Kayasthas women.

    This style is also an old craft practised in ancient Bihar. This is an important style, especially for those who are enthusiastic in the sociological and anthropological studies of Indian culture.

    The Dusadhs were a low caste group and they were not allowed to represent divinities. Their paintings themes included the flora and fauna, but eventually artists have begun to do illustrations on Hindu epics and mythology.

    The main deity of the Dusadh’s is Raja Sailesh (also called Salhesh) whose village shrine (Gahbar) is usually adorned with paintings based on their legends.

    They used to make similar scenes and clay reliefs of animals and birds on the walls of their clay huts, which became a very rare thing today.

    Their pictorial alphabet began to include lines, waves, circles, sticks and snails and became more abstract.

    The Tattoo based paintings reflect the primitive art and creates its impact by a serial replication of the same image.

    The painting is originally in the form of a line drawing and is divided into several horizontal margins.

    Their themes are normally based on the legend of Raja Salhesh
    Considering its rich use of colour it is closer to the Brahmin school of painting.



    Difference between Mithila painting and Godhana painting

    • Godhana Painting is done by the Paswans where Mithila painting is done by the women of Brahmins and Kayasthas.
    • Godhana Painting is a lower casts (Harijan) painting where Mithila Painting is anupper casts painting.
    • Godhana painting is a tribal painting where Mithila painting is painted by the land lords.
    • Dusadhs get their inspirations from the animal, mineral, or vegetable worlds but Brahmans and Kayasthas find their inspiration from the sacred texts of Hindu mythologies.
    • Mithila painting got a worldwide recognition earlier than the Godhana painting.
    • The origin of Mithila painting seems very ancient than Godhana painting.
    • Godhana painting is very much inspired by body painting (tattoo) where Mithila painting is inspired through wall and floor painting.
    • Dusadh painters have depicted only Raja Salhesh and his brothers in their paintings where Upper casts have drawn mostly Gods and Goddesses e.g. Shiva, Durga, Kali, Rama, Hanumana, and specially Krishna and Radha in their paintings.
    • Paswans use the cow dung washed handmade papers as their canvas but Brahmans and Kayasthas use plain white handmade papers for paintings.
    • Harijans generally use more colours than upper casts.

    With the introduction of the Panji system in 1326, which laid down the rules for Brahmin and Kayastha women, differences in style appeared based mainly on the caste. Upper-caste women, who had a relatively confined existence, were made to adhere strictly to specific themes and symbols pertaining to the rituals. It is possible that with the lack of variety in themes, their paintings became more stylistic and intricate in their patterns, which led to the development of the Bharni and the Kachni styles.

    Kachni Style of Black and White Compositions
    Kachni means "Lines". In this style of painting, only one or two colors e.g. black or vermillion is used. The artists draw fine pattern using hatching and stippling to create paintings with the finest details. Double lines are used to depict the outlines and the gaps between the lines are filled with crisscross or tiny straight lines Themes are of flowers, fishes, snakes in union bamboo groves, birds etc symbolizing fertility and life. This form is appreciated for the complex rendition of detail, which makes the paintings look like delicate embroidery composition.

    Bharni Style[Compositions with color fills]From Jitwarpur
    Bharni means "filling". In this style of painting the subject is outlined with black and the enclosed areas are filled with vibrant colors like Blue, yellow, pink, green, orange etc.

    The subjects are represented in flat [two dimensional forms] and the colors applied flat without any shading.

    The skill of the artists rests in the right balance they strike between the patterns and color, which are mostly very vibrant.

    Although the technique is simple, it requires skill and practice. While no shading technique is used, the outline is done with double lines and the gaps between the two lines filled with crisscross or straight lines.

    Hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Siva, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Dhanavanti are the common subjects that the Madhubani artists compose. Very special importance is given to Radha Krishna and Krishna Ras Leela.

    The figures are angular and boldly outlined with bulging "fish" like eyes and pointed noses. While ultramarine blue is used essentially for the figures of Krishna, Rama, Shiva, tones of yellow are used for Radha, Sita, Parvati. The figures are juxtaposed amidst colorful ornate flowers, leafy branches, twisting vines and birds. The Sun, Moon, The Sacred Tulsi and basil plants - all revered by Hindus are also depicted in these paintings.
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  5. Yashikushi

    Yashikushi Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Medium of painting
    Wall Painting (Bhitti Chitra)
    Canvas Painting (Pata Chitra)
    Floor Painting (Aripan)
    Art shifted to Drawing Paper in 1960s.This brought with it a new freedom and creativity as paper is moveable.Painting on Clothes and Sun mica.
    Now Bihari women use the style of Madhubani Paintings on Sarees, Dupattas etc with fabric paint.

    The painting was usually done on walls during festivals, religious events (pujas, vratas), and other milestones of the life-cycle such as birth, Upanayanam (sacred thread ceremony), and marriage.

    The walls were decorated for main purposes as:
    • The sacred thread ceremony (when a boy became an adult member of his caste)
    • The dedication or renovation of the family shrine (the gosain ghar)
    • Festivals such as Chhath, Chauth Chand, and the Devathan Ekadasi
    • The ‘first` marriage when the bride and bridegroom were formally linked.
    • The `second` marriage when they entered their actual married state.
    During the first three occasions, the corridors were decorated with paintings of gods and goddesses. For the two wedding ceremonies at the bride’s house, mural paintings were done in the marriage chamber.

    The three types of paintings done on the bridal chamber were:

    1. The paintings of gods and goddess. The paintings of Radha and Krishna Shiva and Parvati, Vishnu and Lakshmi, Ganesha, Rama and Sita were seen on the chambers to symbolize harmony and bliss in the married life of the couples. Among the paintings, Kali and the Jagannatha trio were also depicted. Repeatedly, the bride and bride and bridegroom with their attendants were also depicted so that they might appear to be participating in the scene and thus be linked with these auspicious beings.

    2. The paintings of propitious symbols as a ring of lotuses, flowers, a bamboo tree, parrots, turtles, fishes, sun, moon, flowering trees and elephants. The symbols of the lotus ring and the bamboo tree figured most prominently as they symbolized fertility because of the speed with which they proliferated and because they were diagrams of sexual organs. For the paintings on the second marriage bamboo tree plunging through the lotus circle was depicted. The painting of the moon symbolized long life and the sun symbolized fertility and. Parrots were symbols for the bride and bridegroom and are Indian equivalents of lovebirds. The people believed that buy including all these paintings there will be marriage bliss and the couples will be blessed with progeny.

    3. In addition to these, paintings of the four servants of Durga were depicted in each corner of the room to prevent anyone from bewitching the bride and bridegroom.

    Animal Forms

    There are images of birds & animals with natural phenomena. Then sign of fertility & prosperity for good luck like elephant, fishes, tortoise, parrots, pea-cocks etc.

    Human Forms

    In this paintings include various Gods & Goddesses. The subject matter varies according to the occasion. God Goddess such as Vishnu-Lakshmi, Shiva-Parvathi, Rama-Sita, Krishna-radha etc.

    Other Forms

    In other forms, the flora, fauna, myth & legend, social customs & expressions giving ritualistic symbols are painted. In these paintings include flower (lotus, tree, bamboo, forest etc).

    Madhubani paintings mostly depict nature and Hindu religious motifs, and the themes generally revolve around Hindu deities like Krishna, Rama, Shiva, Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati

    Among the most celebrated figures believed to have been born in the region are Mahavira (a great spiritual hero of the Jain religion), Siddhartha Gautama (better known to the world as the Buddha), and Sita (the legendary wife of Prince Rama and herself a central figure in what may be the world's most popular epic, the Ramayana).

    Natural objects like the sun, the moon and religious plants like Tulsi are also widely painted.

    Scenes of royal courts and social events such as celebration of wedding are also beautifully depicted in Madhubani paintings.

    Objects depicted in the walls of kohabar ghar (where newly wed couple see each other in the first night) are symbols of sexual pleasure and procreation.

    Legend says that this art form originated during the time of Ramayana when King Janak commissioned artists to paint pictures of his daughter Sita getting married to Rama.

    Some of the famous and common Madhubani paintings as part of wall hanging décor or frames include:

    Male Divine Beings & Human Male Ideals
    • Rama Hunts the Golden Deer
    • Krishna And Radha
    • Krishna Subdues Kaliya
    • Krishna the Cowherd
    • Krishna Resting in a Tree
    • Krishna and Milkmaids
    • Kaalia Mardan
    • Ganapati Playing Tabla
    • Worship of Shiva as Maha-Yogi
    • Purna-Dasa: The Reformed Son
    • The Snake Goddess

    Female Divine Beings or Goddesses
    • The Snake Goddess or Manasa
    • Goddess Saraswati
    • Goddess Lakshmi with Goddess Saraswati
    • Goddess Durga
    • Goddess Kali

    Nature-Animals & Birds (Fish, Lions, and Snakes)
    • The Champa Tree
    • Tulsi plant
    • Peacocks and Fishes
    • Lioness with Cub
    • A Meeting of Snakes
    • Festival in Honor of Snakes
    • Goan Fishes
    • Suga Parrots
    • Monkey And The Crocodile
    • The Goan Fish
    • The Owl
    • Flower Valley
    • The Four Turtles
    • Fishes And The Girl
    • The Horses

    Rites of the Human Life-Cycle
    • Kohbar Or Marriage Proposal
    • Bride Transported by Palanquin
    • Approaching the Honeymoon Chamber
    • Within the Honeymoon Chamber
    • The Married Couple as One
    • Stories Of Panchatantra
    • The Dancing Girls
    • Jungle Friends

    Madhubani can be described as a style of painting, rather than a set of pictures.The colors, which are mostly bright, are used to impart two-dimensional imagery to the paintings. The artists still stick to the traditional way of making colours from the juices of locally available creepers and flowers, natural sources like plants, charcoal soot, ochre etc.

    Traditionally, natural colours were obtained from plant extracts like henna leaves, flower, bougainvillea, neem, etc. Then, to make the paint stick to the painting medium strongly, these natural juices are mixed with banana leave’s resin and ordinary gum.
    In recent times, synthetic colours, which come in powdered form, are easily available in the market. However, artists still use colours derived from natural sources.

    • Black color is obtained by mixing soot with cow dung burnt jowar or kajal.
    • Yellow color is obtained from turmeric or pollen or lime(chunam) mixed with the white excretion of the banyan tree.
    • Blue from Indigo
    • Red from Kusuma flower juice, red sandalwood or rose.
    • Green from the leaves of apple trees/bilva leaf or the saim creeper.. Bel Trees
    • White from rice powder.
    • Orange from Palasha flowers.
    • Ochre and lampblack are also used for reddish brown and black respectively.

    The raw materials were mixed with goat’s milk, gum arabic and juice from bean plants.

    There has also been a tradition of Brahmins and Kayasthas using Holi or bazaar colours in the region.

    Painting is done with fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks.

    The painters use a handmade brush for Mithila or Madhubani art, which made of a bamboo stick, with its end slightly frayed.

    Separate twigs are used for separate colours.

    In another class known as the Harijan style, hand-made paper is washed in cowdung. Once the paints are ready, two different kinds of brushes are used - one for small details which is made out of bamboo twigs and the other for filling in the space which is made from a small piece of cloth attached to a twig.
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  6. Yashikushi

    Yashikushi Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Madhubani art techniques

    The first choice any artist makes is the subject of the painting, no matter what the material - paper or fabric.

    Once that is decided and sketched out roughly with pencil, the shapes and figures are outlined with black paint using nib-pens (brush, in case of fabric).

    Then these are filled with natural dyes and pigments (now being replaced by fabric colors for their longevity) using brushes, twigs and fingers.

    Generally no space is left empty; the gaps are filled with flowers, animals, birds and even geometric designs.

    How it is done?
    Cow dung paste and mud is applied on the walls and floors to give a perfect black background on which pictures are drawn with white rice paste; bright vegetable colors are then applied on the figures making them more vibrant.

    A great number of Madhubani painters still apply a thin layer of cow dung and mud paste on their canvases to give a more authentic look and also because it helps in proper absorption of color.

    The materials used in the Maithil paintings were very simple. The mud walls were plastered with cow-dung. The colors were directly applied on to these walls or the walls would be white washed.

    Powder paints were readily available from the bazaar and were mixed with goat’s milk. The colors commonly used were pink, yellow, blue, red and green. Black color was made by the painters from burnt straw and white color was made from rice-powder mixed with water.

    The brushes were made from a piece of rag tied to a twig for painting the bolder shades and for painting the delicate lines they attached a sliver of bamboo at the end of the twig. All the women of the house hold would gather together when the time for painting the wall came round.

    Traditional Method

    Experienced women from the neighborhood would come for help. The most skilled woman of all would draw the shapes. If at all she makes a mistake she would quickly wipe out.

    Mistakes were rarely committed. As a rule the experienced woman would have the whole design fixed in her mind.

    Preliminary marks were not made on the wall except when the great lotus circle was being drawn.

    Then a pair of bamboo dividers would be used to trace the circumference.

    Once the circles are outlined, the women would fill in the shapes with color.

    It is the duty of little girls to hold the pots of paint and prepare the brushes.

    At times these girls had to fill a small part of the design themselves. In this way, at a very early age the girls of the family would learn the family designs by heart.

    They were not allowed to direct the operation until they were middle aged. By the age of 15 or 16 the girls were experts in Maithili paintings.

    The girls could draw parrots, a tree and a woman in the traditional Maithili style when they were in the Upper Primary School.

    Some families kept a stock of paper patterns on which the family’s current designs were recorded, which were painted in pen-and-ink or and watercolors.

    It is this pattern that has become the property of the Library. These patterns provide symbols for the bride and bridegroom and their attendants, for the god Brahma, for the lotus ring, for Krishna and the circular dance.

    These were preserved as family possession and the bride takes this when she leaves to her husbands home. So that she could continue her family’s tradition of painting and at the same time add it to the stock of her mother-in-law.

    Through this circulation process, the ancestral idioms were spread throughout all Mithila, thus resulting in common caste styles.

    In the paintings made by Maithili Brahmin women, there was an attempt to place figures or objects in a natural relation to each other. They depicted the figures as aimless creatures floating in a tranquil aquarium. The paintings depicted showed Krishna and a peacock standing above the head of a bridegroom’s attendant, a bride and bridegroom walk below a lotus ring, a child trips along a ribbon floating from Shiva’s headdress fishes drift in the sky, parrots perch at any angle, and enormous flowers burgeon besides a tiny milkmaid. They depicted a fish as big as a tiger and a monkey was depicted larger than a man.

    The paintings were relaxed collections of images, which however gracefully combined with one another in the picture space. The figures and objects are depicted on a single flat plane which is defined by a thin and wiry line which bounds large segments of bright color. The bodies were depicted in triangular, rectangular and semicircular shapes that gave them a geometric dignity. Attires and apparels had liveliness of developing plants. For example, goddess Durga may stand firmly in her rectangular skirt, but her arms and crown radiate like the petals of a sunflower. The colors depicted had a vivid brilliance. The blue or black of Krishna’s skin, are depicted by religious canons, but most of the paintings had no relationship to life. Parvati may have a pink head or Shiva a yellow body and it is these distortions, which give the figures an air of gentle vision.

    Madhubani paintings are enchantingly beautiful, but not quite as difficult to make. A creative bent of mind and some knowledge about the art style can get you going. They can be made either on cloth or on paper. While drawing, you have to lay special emphasis on the double outlining of the painting, which is filled with tiny colorful dots, crosses or any other symbol that you may find appropriate. Proceed in a similar manner using black outlines and as many colors as possible in between.
    So hunt for decorative Madhubani paintings for your home, or draw one yourself. Its beauty and simplicity won’t disappoint you either ways.

    :)Madhubani on wall:)

    :)Madhubani on all favourite things:)


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  7. Yashikushi

    Yashikushi Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Making of Madhubani On Fabric





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  8. Yashikushi

    Yashikushi Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Design Pages in IL
    my sharing of designs in IL..second page




    Please browse my collection of designs in this thread as

    1.Tracing designs
    Page 2-3 Post 1 - 17

    2.Kachni Style designs
    Page 3-4 Post 18 - 23

    Page 4 Post 24 - 30

    4.Birds (Peacock,parrot,swan)
    Page 4-6 Post 31 - 45

    Page 6-7 Post 46 - 56

    Page 7 Post 57 - 58

    7.Nature(sun,tree of life)
    Page 7-8 Post 59 - 66

    8.Tribal(village scene)(Bride in pallaki,village scene,village lady women)
    Page 8-9 Post 67 -80

    9.Designs on hard board(Krishna,Ganesh,Women on palanquin)
    Page 10-11 Post 81 - 94

    Page 11 -12 Post 94 -101

    11.God (ganesha,Krishna,Shiv-parvathy)
    Page 12 -16 Post 102 - 142

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  9. Yashikushi

    Yashikushi Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Madhubani on walls

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