In this narrative painting, the horizontal space arrangement has
been so used to divide the work, indicating a keen awareness of
the rural stage where incidents separated by time and space are
portrayed at the same time. The painting pictorially narrates an
incident from the Mahabharat. Draupadi was married to the five
Pandava brothers. They were constantly harassed by their cousins,
the Kauravas for the kingdom which rightfully belonged to the
Pandavas. The Kaurava invited the latter for a game of dice and
cheated them of their kingdom, their personal belongings and even
their wife. To humiliate the Pandavas further, Duryodhana, one of
the Kaurava brothers asked his younger brother to disrobe her in
the gathering. The upper section shows the Pandava brothers
looking on helplessly. At one corner on a separate mat sits
Bhishma Pitamah, the guardian of the kingdom. When Draupadi's
pleas for help to all quarters failed she appealed to Lord
Krishna to save her honour. He obliged and as much the Kauravas
tried to strip her clothes off, they kept increasing and
them from their heinous intention. The left section of the
painting has Lord Krishna blessing Draupadi with yards and yards
of cloth which the artist has shown flowing out of the pictorial
space, signifying its endlessness. The dark men with crowns show
the evil Kaurava brothers.
The pure lotus flowers are painted on either side of Lord Krishna
and hang upside down over the five brothers. Rest of the empty
space is filled by flowers and leaves of a different variety. The
painting is so vivid by itself that narration of the episode
This description by Kiranjyot
Of Related Interest:
Draupadi's Chira-Haran (Madhubani Painting on Hand Made Paper treated with Cow Dung)
Draupadi (Paperback Comic Book)
The Disrobing of Draupadi (Doll)
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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