Understanding and Appreciating the Richness of Madhubani Paintings

If you will happen to ask an art lover what Indian art means to me, more often than not, he will term Indian art as rich in culture and tradition and a riot of colors. One such form of Indian art that is known for its rich color is Madhubani painting.

What is Madhubani painting?

Madhubani painting, which is commonly known as Mithila paintings, derives its name from two Sanskrit words ‘Madhu’ and ‘Ban’. The Sanskrit root word ‘Madhu’ means honey and ‘Ban’ means forest. It is one such form of ancient Indian art that have stood the test time and are still in vogue. Many art galleries are stocking up this form of art and many art enthusiasts who buy paintings online especially ask art curators and advisors for Madhubani paintings.

Tracing the Origin of Madhubani paintings                                                  

Though the origin of this form of painting can be traced back to Nepal and Northern Bihar, but the exact time of its origin cannot be determined. There are many interesting stories that revolve around the origin of Madhubani paintings. One such story of its origin revolves around the incident when Lord Ram and Goddess Sita were to get married. It is believed that at that time it was the King of Mithila and Sita’s father King Janak ordered that his every wall in his realm be decorated. At that time, women of his Kingdom painted intricate motifs on walls of their home and hence originated ancient Mithila art.
Themes, designs and color scheme explored in Madhubani paintings

In ancient India, this form of art was used to paint and adorn walls of homes. Traditionally, women used to create these paintings. They would look up to the beauty of nature and the depth of mythology for inspiration and would usually paint pictures of Hindu Gods and Goddess, beautiful elements of nature, different flora and faunas, birds, animals and heavenly bodies like sun, moon, planets and stars. Usually, they incorporated bright and vibrant colors. Originally, the colors that were used to create these paintings were all natural colors and were prepared by organic means by the artists. A well-guarded ancient for of Indian painting, Madhubani paintings were prevalent in a particular geographical region. The art of creating these paintings was handed down from one generation to another, and this is the chief reason that till this date this form of art has been able to preserve the behind the consistency of style and themes.

Evolution of Madhubani paintings as a professional art form

Though Madhubani painting techniques have been practiced and preserved for centuries, it was only in the mid-20th century that artists started to consider it as a serious profession. These paintings are no more restricted to the walls of houses in rural India, but nowadays artists have started create these paintings on canvas, paper, clothes, jewelry and even on utensils.

Madhubani– Painting for a cause

Many art enthusiasts and artists who practice Madhubani form of painting in Bihar are using it as a way to preserve nature. They have come up with a novel idea of painting pictures of Hindu deities on the stems of trees in Madhubani style. Because, most people in India are sacred of God, they refrain from cutting or harming such trees.

Predicting the future of Madhubani paintings

This form of admired Indian art has found many takers in the form of art enthusiasts, patrons and even artists. There are many organizations and institutes in India such as MITHILAsmita and Mithila Art Institute that are working hard towards its bright future. They are training young enthusiasts to paint these painting and are turning them into the future flag bearer of this art form. Witnessing such devotion on part of these organizations and institutions, it goes without saying that the future of this form of painting is as bright as its colors are.

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