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Paintings > Folk Art > Bhanwara-Pata, A Symbolic Depiction of Indian Marriage Rite
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Bhanwara-Pata, A Symbolic Depiction of Indian Marriage Rite

Bhanwara-Pata, A Symbolic Depiction of Indian Marriage Rite

Bhanwara-Pata, A Symbolic Depiction of Indian Marriage Rite

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

2.5 ft x 1.8 ft
Item Code:
DE02
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$155.00   Shipping Free - 4 to 6 days
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Bhanwara-Pata, A Symbolic Depiction of Indian Marriage Rite

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Viewed 2707 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
This chitra-pata, rendered using a wider range of colours than usually does a Madhubani painting, represents the prime marriage rite and the broad features of a traditional Indian marriage. The hexagonal magic ring, in which six circles rotate around a centrally located larger one, is the focal point, as also the cardinal feature of the painting. The bride's face enshrines all the rotating circles, as also the central one, each consisting of dual rings, the inner one plain and the outer one made of temple motifs. The loops connecting the six rotating circles have hexagonal thrust further intensified by six lotuses painted in the centre of each one and by six colourfully rendered turquoises. Amongst the graphics, hexagons and octagons, as also their multiplications, the sixteen and thirty-two armed, are considered to be the auspicious and helpful mystic forms. The entire body of traditional Alepana or Alpana cult in India is based on these graphic formations. The artist, in arranging these rotating circles, has made wide use of this graphic symbolism. She has also created the octagonal effect by the eight fish swimming in octagonal ring. The hexagons and octagons symbolise wider angles, broader vision, mutual accommodation, liberal approach and an open mind, so significant for the two, the bride and her groom, unknown so far, joining in inseparable unity.

The broad features relating to marriage rite have a somewhat serialised form, beginning with two ladies, clad in blue and red towards the centre on the left, talking. The lady in blue has come with the proposal of marriage. The second step depicts the lady in blue seated and eating something, obviously the sweet, as the proposal has been finalised. Just below them, towards the lower left corner, there sit the bride and her groom worshipping elephant, symbolising Ganesh, the harbinger of auspices and remover of detriments. The bride has before her a pot containing water, tray containing sweets and basket containing flowers for the performance of the worship ritual. Then begins the journey towards the final goal. There lay on the way the mangala-ghata, the auspicious pot, symbolising the earth and the ocean, their forbearance and invaluable treasures, to reveal when attempted at discovering. Ahead the mangala-ghata, there is the auspicious banana plant with lotuses growing on it. They assure fruition and purity.

Above the banana plant, towards the centre on right, the groom is seen leading the bride towards the magic ring, the Bhanwara-chakra, which consists of seven circumambulating steps around the axis. In the painting these seven rounds, the pheres, have been dually represented, first by the seven circles, the six rotating and seventh located in the centre, and secondly, by seven strips, the three comprising the circumferential ring, the next two by rotating turquoises and the fish and the rest two by two rings of the central circle. Towards the left of the magic ring, two persons are seen carrying a palanquin with the bride in it, the farewell to the bride. That broadly summarises the marriage rite.

The pata includes other auspicious symbols also. The upper corners are flanked by the symbols of the sun and the moon, the fire-like orange coloured sun with a male bearing on the left and a female like soothing moon on the right. A pair of peacocks, the auspicious bird of the heaven, symbolising brilliance and colourfulness in life, perch in the centre on the top. The entire canvas lay strewn with multi-coloured flowers and creepers. To add further auspice to the banana plant, the artist has flanked it by a couple of parrots, a sacred bird and messengers far off lovers. In addition to their graphic role, the turquoises and fish are highly auspicious beings and have a significant place in Indian mythological tradition. The entire theme is contained within an enormously elaborate and picturesque border comprising of two rows of lotuses, one facing the other creating in between a black zigzag string beautifully defined by contrasting yellow leaf motifs. This border has been framed inside two orange strips binding the whole in the absolute unity.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.

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