Madhubani/Mithila Paintings – UPSC Prelims

Madhubani Paintings

  • Madhubani art (or Mithila painting) is a style of Indian painting, practised in the Mithila region of Bihar.
  • This painting is done with a variety of tools, including fingers, twigs, brushes, nib-pens, and matchsticks and using natural dyes and pigments.
  • It is characterized by its eye-catching geometrical patterns.
  • It was traditionally created by the women of various communities in the Mithila region of the Indian subcontinent.
  • This painting as a form of wall art was practised widely throughout the region; the more recent development of painting on paper and canvas mainly originated among the villages around Madhubani.
  • It is these latter developments that led to the term “Madhubani art” being used alongside “Mithila Painting.”

Its features

  • It uses two-dimensional imagery, and the colours used are derived from plants. Ochre, Lampblack and Red are used for reddish-brown and black, respectively.
  • It mostly depicts people and their association with nature and scenes and deities from the ancient epics.
  • Natural objects like the sun, the moon, and religious plants like tulsi are also widely painted, along with scenes from the royal court and social events like weddings.
  • Generally, no space is left empty; the gaps are filled by paintings of flowers, animals, birds, and even geometric designs.
  • Madhubani art has five distinctive styles:  Bharni, Kachni, Tantrik, Godna and Kohbar.
  • This painting has also received a GI (Geographical Indication) status.
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