Madhubani Painting: History, Origin and Culture

madhubani painting

Madhubani painting is a 2500-year-old folk art of a district Madhubani or ranti village of Bihar. It is said to date back to the time of Ramayana when king Janak asked an artist to capture his daughter Sita wedding to prince Ram. at that time these paintings were usually created by women on walls and floors during celebration special occasions, ceremonies and festivals.

This art form is also known as “Mithila art” as it was originated in the Mithila region of Bihar. This art form was first witnessed by a British colonial officer of Madhubani district William G Archer on the interior walls of homes while he was Examining the damage caused by earthquale which hit bihar in 1934.

This art form is constantly  developing and now practised on cloth, paper and canvas mainly originated among the villages around Madhubani and thus latter it got the name “Madhubani Art”.  The skills of this art have been passed on generations mainly by women  of Mithila region. these paintings are made from the paste of powdered rice (Rice Flour). 

The colours used in this painting are vibrant, Lively and bright. Plants are used to derive colours for the paintings and it also used 2-dimensional imaginary  Ochre & lampblack are also used for reddish brown and black colour respectively.

These painting frequently portray the people and its association with nature and Scenes and diety from the ancient epics. Natural objects like sun, moon, plants (mainly religious) like Tulsi and People are widely painted along with scenes from Royal court and social events, Festivals or wedding.  Generally  the canvas is fielsd with paintings wihout leaving a trace.

This art has generally five styles- Bharni, Katchni, Godna, Tantrik and Kohbar. Bharni, Tantrik and Katchni were the styles of upper classes like Brahmins and Kayastha  in the regions of Nepal and India. They generally depict the religious God and Goddesses, flora and fauna in their paintings while lower caste people like shudras generally depicts the incident of their daily lives and stories of Raja (Shailesh) and the guards of the village and much more in their paintings.

In ancient times as u can see and imagine, these arts were based on caste, religion and creed but nowadays, it is supported globally by any person irrespective of caste, culture and creed.

Due to its styles, colouring and story depicting ability, this art form has gained alot of importance across the globe.

In the Bihar museum of Patna, the capital city of Bihar, this art form is portrayed in the art gallery not only  in the form of paintings but also made by bamboo sticks which shows the wedding of a couple and people celebrating that occasion.

This art form has been accorded the coveted geographical indication status meaning no other state or region can claim this art form as theirs.