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Top 7 Books on Madhubani Painting

Madhubani painting

What is Madhubani Painting?

The Mithila (current Bihar) region of India and Nepal is home to Madhubani paintings, also known as Mithila paintings. It derives its name from the Madhubani district of Bihar, India, where it was first conceived. These paintings are made by artists utilising a range of tools, such as brushes, nib pens, matchsticks, fingers, or twigs. Natural pigments and dyes are used to make the paint. The paintings stand out for their striking patterns.

The technique of painting on walls as a type of wall art was widespread throughout the region. In more recent times, paper and canvas painting have become popular. Because of these latter developments, “Madhubani art” and “Mithila Painting” are often used interchangeably. Tradition dictated that the paintings be produced on the freshly plastered mud walls and floors of huts. Nowadays, they can also be painted on canvas, handmade paper and cloth. Although Madhubani painting has only been practised in a small geographic area and has been passed down through the generations, its subject matter and aesthetic have barely changed. 

Thematic Features

The fundamental foundation of Madhubani art’s philosophy is dualism. The artwork looks to be overflowing with representations of celestial beings, plants and animals, as well as elements from tantric symbolism, and traditional Hinduism. Madhubani art was a pleasant diversion from the daily grind for the women of Bihar, serving primarily as a vital socio-cultural engagement. The ephemeral art form, ancestral tradition, and history are preserved by following well-established protocols and passing down techniques from one generation to the other. Nowadays, acrylic paint and brushes are more commonly used by Madhubani painters than natural colours and pigments. In addition to painting walls and floors, they now work on paper, linen, canvas, and wood to produce art and objects.

We suggest the top 7 books written on Madhubani art. You should get these on your bookshelf as it plays a significant element in the socio-cultural framework of our nation. Also, this is how we would pass the legacy from one generation to the next!

Best 7 Books on Madhubani Painting

1. Madhubani Art: Indian Art Series by Bharti Dayal

Bharti Dayal is an Indian national award-winning Madhubani painter. In this book, she explores the history of Madhubani art, which is believed to have originated during the Ramayana period of antiquity. During this time, locals decorated the town with intricate murals and wall paintings in preparation for the marriage of Lord Rama and Sita. The book also sheds light on how the women in Bihar found Madhubani art to be a welcomed distraction from their daily struggles.

Madhubani Art: Indian Art Series by Bharti Dayal
Image Credit:

2. Indian Folk art of Bihar Madhubani Paintings – I by Ruchy Jain

This book is a collection of hand-drawn Madhubani paintings. Religious symbols, flowers, trees, animals, and striking geometric patterns are recurring subjects in the paintings. It includes 20 colourful plates as well as 20 line drawings that can be coloured with your preferred paints. There are a few bookmarks and stickers of the artwork at the end.

3. Mithila Paintings, Depicting the Monsoon / Madhushravani Festival of Bihar by Manisha Jha

The author spent fourteen years documenting this book. It contains 75 coloured photographs, 58 coloured paintings, and 29 monochrome artworks. You can also find biographies of the six Padmashree award winners and other Madhubani tradition masters. It contains fourteen tales about the snake deity Manasa and Lord Shiva. There are master and emerging artists’ most original paintings there.

4. Because Madhubani Art Is A Therapy: From handmade paper to heart; a healing journey..! by Madhu Mithila

Madhubani is not simply a form of art; it is also a kind of mental and spiritual treatment. This book is intended for people who adore Madhubani paintings and are anxious to begin creating their own. Hence, this book explains the fundamentals of Madhubani Folk Art and instructs you on how to begin Madhubani painting. Also, this book includes some specially created Madhubani sketches by Madhumithila.

5. Madhubani Painting by Dr Upendra Thakur

At the University of Magadh in Bodh-Gaya, Dr Upendra Thakur teaches and oversees the department of ancient Indian and Asian studies (Bihar). Dr Thakur is the author of numerous publications and more than 65 research papers, including ‘The Hunas in India’, ‘History of Mithila’, ‘History of Suicide in India’, ‘Studies in Jainism and Buddhism in Mithila’, and ‘History of Mithila’. The present work includes a brief analysis of the numerous aspects of Mithila paintings and folk arts, which are distinctive and have few counterparts.

There have been a lot of discussions recently on this painting, which draws its primary inspiration from both popular religious themes and the natural world. They exhibit the restraint and tranquillity of Maithila life as well as the distinct theocratic and aristocratic organisations of Mithila that sought to explain certain intuitions that were integral to their faith in a clear and edifying manner. The many types of wall paintings (bhitti-citra) and floor drawings (Aripana) offer information on customs, attire, rituals, and religion that could otherwise go missed.

6. Rescue by Design: Madhubani Art (Art Tales from India) by Anjali Raghbeer

Anjali Raghbeer, a graduate of the London Business School, is a renowned screenwriter and adored children’s book. She is an avid fan of art and teaches young people about it in seminars. With a sweet story about a young girl’s yearning to live her life in her unique colours, the author transports us to the heart of Madhubani.

7. Master in Madhubani art (or Mithila painting) by Amrita Gupta

This book illustrates simple step-by-step instructions on how to create Madhubani art. It also sheds light on how to make lovely cards, envelopes, decorative showpieces for home décor, paintings, and many other things. You may create amazing paintings based on Madhubani art at the end of the book. 

Concluding Remarks

A significant connection to our cultural heritage may be made through art, and Indian art is simply rich in traditions that go back thousands and even hundreds of years. Madhubani painting is one of the most well-liked traditional art genres. Regrettably, there aren’t many living and active Madhubani artists nowadays. Several traditional forms of Indian art are at risk of extinction. It is getting harder for traditional craftspeople to support themselves with their craft alone as the world grows more contemporary. We must carry on the history of Indian folk art because to maintain their work, collectors from around the world are required.

With everyday workshops and more interactive features, we are taking a step to preserve this beautiful art form. Join us at the Rooftop app to explore more about the world of Madhubani paintings.

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