Chaturbhujadhari Devi Kali, With The Beauteous Eyes
Madhubani art is so called because it is endemic to Bihar's Madhubani district; the Mithila region, to be precise. Having been practised by local women, it is a form of bhitti chitra ('bhitti' means 'wall'; 'chitra', 'painting') used to decorate the home and the hearth. Understandably, the themes dominant in the folk art produced by a simple, reserved people are devotional and draw from the rich mythology of the culture. This contemporary Mithila painting is no exception. It is a rudimentary Mother Kali composition - the long-haired, long-tongued chaturbhujadhari Devi with the determined, almost fierce gaze. Her husband, the Lord Shiva, lies supine beneath Her divine feet. From the traditional mud-wall canvas, Mithila art has evolved to be done on portable canvas such as paper treated specially for the purpose in this case.
It is characterised by thick black outlines, filled in with solid colours with no shading. The painting you see on this page deviates from Madhubani colour conventions, featuring a black-and-white colour format. White spaces are minimised with finer and finer detailing in black, the pigment for which has been derived from carbon black. Despite the rustic mood of the work, Her iconography, as well as Her husband's, is replete. Her hands bear the implements of wrath, and She is naked but for the deathly skirt of severed human arms. Between Her large beauteous eyes is the tattoo of a trishool, indicating that it is to Shiva She belongs. Zoom in on any portion of the background to appreciate the time and labour that must have gone into the same.
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Madhubani Painting on Hand Made Paper Treated with Cow Dung20 inch X 28 inch
Folk Painting from the Village of Madhubani (Bihar)
Artist: Hira devi