There are hundreds of love stories around us Romeo & Juliet, Heer & Ranjha, Raj & Simran etc. Still one of the praiseworthy stories that live in the heart of every Indian is of Shree Ram and Sita. If by any chance there was a camera 7000 years ago then we might have pictures like Ranbir and Alia but unfortunately, we did not. But what if there is live evidence from that time, not pictures but handmade paintings from Ramayan? Because we do! Indian and Nepalese art forms namely Madhubani Paintings are stills from the stories of Ramayan. And Rooftop will take you on a journey where you will get to know every aspect of this legendary folk art of India.

Image credits: Amazon (L); Novica (M), Alamy (R)

Origin & History of Madhubani Painting

Mithila, a region in the state of Bihar, northern India and some parts of Nepal has an important tradition of knowledge in form of Madhubani painting.  It is also the prime exporter of Madhubani art. Generally, eye catching geometric shapes characterise this painting. These paintings depict particle occasions such as birth, marriage and festivals like Holi, Surya Shasti, Kali Puja, Upanayana and Durga Pooja. 

Women’s of various communities created the Madhubani painting. Mithila Painting is majorly a wall art but recently paper and canvas are also used for drawing. Freshly plastered mud walls and floors of the hut were the prime places for drawing but over time it is done on handmade paper and canvas.

Commonly depicted subjects in the painting are Shree Ram and Sita marriage, Shiva and Parvati unison and festivals, sun or moon. The origin of this art is the place it gets the name Madhubani, which is from a district of Madhubani that means ‘a forest of honey’. Initially, it belonged to the upper class and later women from the various communities took the painting into their hands. The women breathed an air of life in these paintings by creating resonating paintings of mythological figures, animals, and various elements of nature. Secondly, they made use of natural dyes and hues applying them with twigs, fingers and matchsticks.

Designs & Colours

Since various communities practise Madhubani, this art has various styles. The 5 widely known styles are Tantrik, Kohbar, Bharni, Godna, and Katchni, all being different from one another. Dues to its unique styling it occupied a special place in the royal courts and events like weddings. Its intriguing mathematical patterns make it further intriguing. 

Colour and pigments are extracted from natural elements. It can be powdered rice, turmeric, indigo, pollen, flowers, sandalwood, and leaves of various plants and trees. Other natutral elements give desired colour accordingly. Artists prepare these colours themselves. There is no room for emptiness in the painting. As blank spaces are filled with motifs of flowers, birds or geometric patterns.  A double line is preferred for borders.

Image credits: Cultural India (L); Novica (M); Memeraki (R)

Significance of Madhubani Painting

A well-known face of Indian folk art is Madhubani and it symbolises the creativity and compassion of its people. This painting depicts the psychology of the society to which it belongs; it also reflects the morals, customs, rituals, and values of the region compellingly. It flaunts feminism as women draw it on a large scale. They are carrying the legacy of Sita who is known to be a woman with great character and independence. Women’s dominance is a prime feature of this folk art. The art form is sensitive and selective in its artistic expressions. 

Taking a step further to popularise this art Rooftop conducts workshops with expert artists. Educating the know-hows of Mithila art. You are missing out on the greatest art experience. Register now and be a part of India’s Leading art community. 

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