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Paintings > Folk Art > The Auspicious Mayura-pata
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The Auspicious Mayura-pata

The Auspicious Mayura-pata

The Auspicious Mayura-pata

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Madhubani Painting on Hand Made Paper treated with Cow Dung
Artist Dhirendra Jha

2.5 ft x 1.8 ft
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The Auspicious Mayura-pata

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Viewed 2829 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
This Mayura-pata is the truest expression of the Madhubani art tradition. In its basic bright colours, decorative character, symmetry and balance, adherence to graphics, a wide range of elements, vitality, vigour, motion, pictorial quality and lyricism, this pata has the fragrance of Mithila's soil, the land where thrived the unique art style world-wide known as Madhubani art. The primitive man, a mind endowed with the unique capacity to visualise in simple graphic formations the world around, all its mysticism and cosmic riddles, has not perished. This primitive mind, unique in its deep mysticism, spiritualism and creative perspective and vision, a pre-Vedic or even pre-Aryan phenomenon, still prevails in India's folk or tribal life, and it is what makes India so different and unique amongst all nations of the world. In creative traditions like the one, which Madhubani represents, the fragrance of that primitive mind, or rather primitive India, may still be felt and traced.

It is, thus, the creative consciousness and mystic experience of centuries that have matured the Madhubani art. It has sustained, through ages, in the illiterate hands of Mithila's women folk who always coloured their festivals and auspicious days by their creative vision, unique perception and inborn imagination. As do most tribes and rural population, these women folk of Mithila region in Bihar decorated their houses, the doors, the floors and the walls, by various designing patterns consisting of graphics and broad generalised vision of things rendered in colours derived direct from the nature. When it was a religious thing, a legend, the representation of a votive image or an auspice, which was held in reverence, it was rendered on wall space and was known as bhitti-chitra, that is, a picture on wall. When these were simple decorative designing patterns, they were drawn on the floor and were known as aripana, a Maithaili equivalent of alepana or alpana. These two, the bhitti-chitra and aripana, are the initial forms of Madhubani art idiom. Later, around the seventh decade of the 20th century, when this unique Madhubani art became the fancy of art lovers all over the world, the Madhubani women shifted to paper and other mediums. A bhiti-chitra, or aripana, when rendered on paper, was called chitra-pata.

This chitra-pata, a galaxy of colours rendered with great lustre and under absolute balance, reproduces a pair of peacocks. The eye, when it perceives the birds, feels that they throb with life-vigour and if the flower-laden plant, which stands in between, had not obstructed, they would have met. Despite the plant, each moment, they seem to draw closer. Both birds are unrealistic creation of fancy but a reality might not be so real as these peacocks are. Whatever the eye beholds, the peacock is to the mind a bird of myriad of colours, an assimilation of thousands of rainbows, lustre of hundreds of divine lights, a dance and all its brilliance manifest, a thing of beauty and beauty alone. To the sensitive mind, the peacock does not have an anatomy but only a fabulous beauty, the galaxy of fabulous colours and a dance that even apsaras rival. If the peacock had not been so unique and exceptional, Krishna would not make its feather his crest, Indra take to its form, gods proclaim it as the bird of the Svarga and Indian Republic declare it India's national bird.

The artist Vidyadevi has laid around the canvas a broad patterned prominent border. Green plants with red flowers, lotuses primarily, occupy the bottom of the canvas. Lustrous deep blue comprises the body of the birds. Three arched patterns, fluted with multi-coloured stripped, two vertical and one upright, define the feathers of the birds. A flame like formation, vividly decorated, frames their beaks like a halo. This halo is contained within an exquisitely inlaid and vividly designed arched niche having repeated decorative rings. It has a sanctum like look, as if the peacocks enshrine there. This niche is another most beautiful part of the painting. Half lotuses negotiate its upper corners. In unique symmetry, the outer framing line rises on both sides from the last end of birds' tails, and the line of the niche, from the end part of their backs. The depiction is so versatile that it seems to rise and float over and above the canvas otherwise, too, so wondrously balanced.

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