The glories of goddess Kali, who holds the
strings of time and death in her control are universal. Her expansive dark
form, lolling tongue, ethereal ornamentation, and readiness to salvage her
devotees from all troubles have made the goddess a universal symbol of the
fierceness of motherhood. A depiction of the majestic greatness of the dark
mother in a simple, folk tone, this goddess Kali Madhubani painting is a truly
exotic work of art.
interplay of ivory white and black, the goddess Kali painting provides a
glimpse into the visions of the people of Madhubani and how they visualize the
roopa of Maa Kali. The traditional aspects of the goddess- her four arms, a
garland of skulls, a girdle of severed hands,
large eyes, and Shiva under her feet, are all drawn by the artist, but
they have been given a quintessentially folk touch. Maa Kali’s long black
tresses are turned into an unusually beautiful halo around her, the Mundamala
(garland of skulls) is condensed into a small necklace that sits close to
Devi’s neck, and her Khadaga is drawn like a sickle- a farming implement which
the artists from the agricultural state of Bihar are well acquainted with.
Another distinctive attribute added to the appearance of goddess Kali is a
conch shell (shankha) in her secondary right hand, used by Devi before and
after a battle, to proclaim her eternal victories.
Shiva Mahadeva who lies underneath is
presented with a remarkably young countenance and has his trident half visible
in the foreground. Sprawling leaf-less branches drawn like downward moving
lightning in the night sky, shroud the presence of Maa Kali. Bordered with
geometrical patterns and a dark slip, the painting is an unassuming yet exotic
representation of the powers of Maa Kali.
Madhubani painting is also known as Mithila art as it is practiced
in the Mithila region of India and Nepal. It has specifically
originated from the Madhubani district of the state of Bihar.
Traditionally, the women of this region created these paintings
and in recent years, it has become a widely practiced art and has
now become renowned throughout the world. This art expresses the
creativity and culture of the people of Mithila and is passed from
one generation to another. In this way, the heritage of Madhubani
art has been preserved for many decades.
The subjects of these paintings are usually religion, love, and
fertility. Sometimes, social events like festivals, weddings, and
royal court are also depicted in the paintings. The most commonly
painted designs and themes are the forms of Hindu Gods and
Goddesses such as Ganesha, Shiva, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Krishna, and
Ram. The characteristic features of Madhubani paintings are their
vibrant colors and eye-catching geometrical patterns. The empty
spaces are filled with traditional motifs such as floral and
foliate patterns, animals, birds, geometrical structures, and
other designs. The local artists create these paintings using a
variety of items such as matchsticks, twigs, brushes, pens, or
even their own fingers. The paints are usually made with natural
dyes and pigments.
As simple as it may seem, the making process of the world-famous
Madhubani paintings is certainly not easy and requires lots of
Traditional Madhubani paintings are done either on cloth,
handmade paper, or canvas. Select the medium of painting as per
your choice. If you have chosen cloth, attach it to cardboard to
make a solid base.
The making of the painting begins with making a double-lined
border. This is a very important step because the border is
filled with various geographical shapes and patterns or other
motifs. The average width of the border is 1.5 - 2 cm.
Now that the border is created, you will be left with a blank
middle space. This is the main workspace. Start drawing your
choice of figure, designs, and shapes. These must be relevant to
the Madhubani painting themes.
When the key design has been made, the empty spaces in between
are filled with some designs.
Now is the time to color the painting using vivid shades and
hues. Colors in Madhubani are sourced from nature; Indigo is
used to produce blue, flower juice produces red, turmeric gives
yellow, leaves produce green, cow dung mixed soot gives black,
and rice powder gives white.
To paint these colors, the artist uses a bamboo stick and wraps
cotton around it. This acts as a traditional brush.
The entire painting is now painted using this special brush with
natural vibrant colors. · However, in modern times, the common
brush is used and instead of natural colors, artists prefer to use
Since the entire painting is made with natural materials and
colors, it appears simple yet enriching. Originally, this art was
created on mud walls or soil grounds but when it evolved over many
years, the people of Madhubani started to make it on fabric and
paper. Today, this art has become globalized and is receiving
worldwide attention and appreciation.
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